Am I for real? Are you?

28 Sep

The problem with what the Bible says about loving people is that it requires you actually love people.

This after all is part of what is behind the biblical commands to love others sincerely. Loving others sincerely means that fake simply won’t cut it. Insincere love is not biblical love.

But it is easier.

Fake doesn’t require that you make sacrifices. It only requires that you smile, nod, and say the right words at the right time. Fake actually can make your life a little easier. If you don’t learn to at least pretend that you care, you probably won’t have many other people pretend to care about you. That may be why so many of us have been learning to pretend to love other people for a long time. Some of us even had parents who trained us in it.

Because we have been pretending to love people for so long, we don’t always notice that we have substituted biblical love with its counterfeit. I made a list of possible symptoms to help us evaluate whether we have made the fatal switch.

* You express concern for a person when others are around to hear it, but don’t feel or express that concern when you are with him individually.
* You are more concerned about getting the other person to do what you want than you are about helping them honor God.
* You are not willing to put up with a number of mistakes from another person.
* Your prayers for the person are little more than rituals.
* You are willing to confront the person but don’t make an effort to help restore them after they have repented.
* You aren’t interested in the other person.
* You don’t make any attempt to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
* You are insecure when the people around you have gifts that you do not have and are not excited about seeing them use those gifts. Instead you either want to bring them under your control or avoid them. You don’t really hope they will succeed and and you do not exert real effort in helping them succeed, but instead you primarily think about the way what they are doing makes your life more difficult or might bring embarrassment to you.
* You say you care about a person but you don’t attempt to spend time with that person except when there is a need to correct him.
* You have a long memory of people’s mistakes. You actually keep a record of people’s mistakes and you are willing to share that record with others.
* You don’t talk to the person about those mistakes or sins but instead talk to others about those mistakes instead probably under the guise of ministry concerns.
* When you talk with others about that person’s mistakes or sins, you don’t give a person you are talking about the benefit of the doubt but instead use exaggerated language and caricatures to leave a tainted image of that person in someone else’s mind.
* When someone comes under attack or is in a difficult situation, you either join in the attack or you do nothing to help the person as he goes through that difficult situation. You simply watch.

Whenever I think about insincere love, and especially when I begin to think more carefully at what it looks like, three things happen. One, I am convicted by my own lack of love for others. I am much better at talking about love than living in a loving manner. Two, I am more thankful for Jesus’ love for us as believers. While our love is often insincere, His never is. What a Savior that would care for us in such a complete and true way and may God help us to become more like Him and less like the world around us! And three, I want to learn to love others more sincerely. The real thing is so much better than the substitute.


One Response to “Am I for real? Are you?”

  1. Joe Lima September 28, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    The fact that the bible tells us to love actually means that we have to love has gone missing from a large part of what we consider well taught churches. Visible morality is strictly adhered to but man talk to these people about love and a glazed expression appears on their face. They will even oppose you to your face defending their brand of loveless love. Legalism is alive and well in many well taught churches. Why are we surprised? There was a legalistic group of men that Jesus corrected because of their lack of love and mercy. They too were considered by the Jews as well taught. They were the Pharisees.

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