SO, how’s the serving going? You feeling uncomfortable yet?
As you may have noticed, stepping out of our comfort zone is all about confrontation. By serving, we confront our flesh. We choose to say no to our selfish tendencies and give of ourselves. You know another great way to confront our flesh (and thus, take a step out of our comfort zone)? To show the love of Jesus to people who are… well, hard to love.
Like that kid who sits in the back of the classroom eating glue. Or the co-worker who always has something to complain about. And what about the whiny girl who has a tendency to make everything about her? Or that guy who’s like Oscar-the-Grouch and couldn’t say a kind word if his life depended on it?
You get the idea. Most of us don’t want to sit by those people on the bus, let alone intentionally love them! Some people are seriously high maintenance. They’re like porcupines– you maintain your distance and everything goes smoothly. Isn’t it so much easier to simply look the other way and try to avoid them? But then, we’re not in this because it’s easy, right? We’ve got our eyes set on a higher prize.
We are called to be reflections of Christ. Jesus loves everyone unconditionally. Therefore, shouldn’t we show His love to others?
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” ~John 13:34
Now, I’m not saying we need to become best friends with every person who crosses our path. And I’m definitely not telling anyone to run up and befriend that really creepy dude who hangs out in a dark alley. What I am stating is, that we need to be willing to reach out to people, especially those who can drive us bonkers.
“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” ~ Matthew 5:46
Our love for others is reflected in more than just our words. It’s in our actions, body language, and attitude as well! And, notice how Jesus never said, “Love people and be kind to them when they’re in the room, but as soon as they leave feel free to tear them apart.” We’re called to love and honor people even when they aren’t around.
“Be kind to everyone, even if you’d rather walk on a bed of hot coals then be polite to them.” Sounds like something from a Disney movie, doesn’t it?
As most of us have probably figured out, loving others well, is harder said than done. Yet it is so worth it! Jesus loves and pursues us, no matter how difficult or cold-hearted we may be towards Him. He looks past our brokenness and calls out our God-given identity. And now, He’s giving us the opportunity to, like Him, see others through His eyes. What an invitation!
BUT. If we stay within our comfort zone and never reach out to those people, we miss out on this glorious chance to become more like Christ. The Lord has so many divine plans for us! In order to experience the fullness of those plans, we need to grow in Christ. And what better way to grow, than to say “no” to the flesh, and “yes” to Jesus?
As someone once told me, “Anybody can look at someone and see their flaws. Calling out faults is nothing special! However, it takes a prophetic spirit and the grace of God to look past the brokenness and call out what the Lord sees.”
In order to love others well, we need to constantly be leaning on the Lord. By allowing Him to fill us and be the source of our success, we not only end up serving/pouring into another person (yes, loving others is a form of serving them!), but we end up growing in our personal walk with the Lord. Attempting to love by our own strength? Eh. It’s gonna lead to a dead-end street.
What are some practical ways you can love others (specifically the “porcupines”) better?