Loving Where They Are

Do to others as you would like them to do to you. Luke 6:31 (NLT)

A while ago I spent the weekend with some folks. We were going to hang out together. So, I planned some activities for us to do. I was super surprised when they weren't appreciative. As a matter of fact, they complained about the stuff we were doing. I got through the weekend and thought "Man, I will never do that again." I was annoyed.

Later in the week I was talking to God about it and asking him to make them more appreciative and thankful. And God revealed something to me that made me have an "AWWWW Come On!" moment. Do you know what that is?  That is when God shows you that your thinking is skewed. And because he does this you have to adjust your mindset and choose a new path. I both love and hate these moments at the same time. OK. I only hate it when I am still really mad about something. Mostly, I am uncomfortable with them. I am uncomfortable with them because God is showing me that my thinking is wrong which means I have to change. I love them because they are so personal to me that I know he is involved with what I'm saying to him and what I am doing. There is nothing better than when God talks to you.

Anyway, as I was walking along and talking to him and asked him to make these people more thankful, he asked me "Did you plan the activities they would like or the activities you would like?" I think I may have stopped walking. I planned stuff I thought they would like but the activities probably leaned more toward what I would like.

That made me think of the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman that talks about how we love our spouses (and others) according to our own love language when we should love them according to theirs. For example, if my husband's love language is Words of Affirmation but I keep trying to give him gifts, I am not reaching him where he is. He may not care anything about gifts. So the goal is to learn the love language of the person you are trying to love and love them that way. Then, the bible text "Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you." popped into my head.

I realized that when we love others, we should love them where they are not how we think they should be loved. The two can be so, so different. If someone I know needs a new pair of shoes and I give them a hat, what good is that? Or if it is more meaningful to them to drive around the country but I take them to the city, will that be special to them? I think this loving others where they are thing is hard to do. We naturally migrate toward loving people in the way we are comfortable. Jesus did it really well. He listened to people and saw their hearts and loved them exactly how they needed. He still does. So I guess if we are going to learn to do this, we will have to learn from the Master. Lots of love lessons there......I suppose I have many more "AWWWW Come On!" moments ahead of me.

It [Love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking. 1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)