Loving like Christ Loves
“For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”
1 John 3:11 (ESV)
“People annoy me!”
Have you ever caught yourself saying something like this? Have you ever found yourself frustrated with another college student (or family member) who can’t seem to get off your nerves? What is wrong with this person?, you might ask yourself! How did they get so annoying?
When you find yourself annoyed by others, take some time to reflect inward. Perhaps the problem lies within your own heart. Perhaps you’ve allowed yourself to become selfish.
College breeds selfishness
Think about it: the college experience breeds selfishness. Your entire world revolves around studying for your tests and keeping up your grades.1 And when your focus is on yourself (whether preparing for a senior recital or learning all the ways to wrap a sprained ankle), it becomes very easy to lose sight of others and their needs. When this happens, it’s easy to be impatient with them.
Entertainment culture breeds selfishness
Think about it: you might spend all day working with machines that do exactly what you tell them to do. You tell your computer to play music, it plays music. You tell your iPad to play Netflix, it plays Netflix. Everything responds to your commands and does exactly what you want it to do. Without realizing it, some college students approach their relationships with others the same way. Rather than seeing people as people , we might see them as uncooperative tools.2
So how do you practically love others as Christ would have you love?
- Reach out to those you might not normally meet.
People are tribal. We wear tribal clothing, signifying to others where we belong and who we represent. We like to hang out in groups where all the people are like us. But if you’re going to love like Christ, you’ve got to be willing to reach out and meet someone who might be a little different from you. Don’t stick to your own tribe. Reach out!
- Listen to what people actually say.
Listen! Don’t jump in! Don’t assume you know what they’re going to say. Allow people to speak, listen to what they have to say, and then respond. This is called conversation. Conversation is one way you can show love to others. By actually listening to what they say, you show them favor and treat them with respect.
- Pray for those you don’t like.
Let’s face it, sometimes you just don’t like someone. Something about them doesn’t gel with who you are. The Christian family is made up of all kinds of people with differing talents and temperaments. God designed the church to function this way. The best way to learn to love those who rub you the wrong way is pray for them.