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Have you ever loved someone until it hurt?

April 23, 2007

I had a conversation with  someone yesterday who is grieving over how another’s decisions are impacting them. They care for the person and want relationship with them, but have been rejected over and over again. It left me asking questions. How does God want us to relate to others? What does it mean to be a neighbor and to love our neighbor? How are we called to walk out our life with others?

Scripture says to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:39). This scripture actually comes from Leviticus 19:18. It is one of God’s earliest guidelines for us. In Mark 12:33 God tells us “to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  God values relationship that much!

It surprises me how Christians can interpret scripture so differently. I have been sharing recently with a variety of people regarding what relationship looks like, what God’s heart is for relationship, and how he wants us to demonstrate that. A lot of people hold others at arms length, especially in America. The depth of conversation goes no further than personal interests like favorite TV shows or sports, or touching on what activities happened in life that week. Is that level of interaction what God meant by loving your neighbor as yourself? Is that all he wants for us in fellowship with others? Are friendly hugs and hellos all we should share with each other at church?

I believe God wants to call us to more. I believe we fail and fall short every day in our relationships with others because we don’t embrace connection, vulnerability, and transparency.  Romans 12:2  challenges us “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Are you willing to conform to God’s relationships instead of the world’s example? How will that transform your thoughts and actions? If God could talk verbally to you do you think he would challenge you to change anything in your relationships? Are you willing to invest in a relationship with someone other than your immediately family where you allow yourself to love deep enough that it could hurt?

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