Thursday, May 14, 2015

#FOODFORTHOUGHT: 5 TIPS FOR LOVING OTHERS

Hello Faves! I have been very irritable lately with people. I don't want to be and I am consistently asking God to help me fix that in my heart. I am naturally an introvert and I find solace alone rather than around others. That doesn't mean I don't like people or enjoy being around them. I like fellowship and even entertaining guests at times. But lately I've wanted to pull away and the Lord has put me in a position where I can't. I am beginning to really not like people.


Don't be alarmed because we all get there sometimes. My issues stem from the relationship between the Lord and I maturing. He really wants my full focus on Him. I am an introvert who is also a people pleaser (how does that work?). I prefer to avoid confrontation which at times has caused me to not stand up for myself. I want to support, help, love and be there for everybody. But it drains me when people are unappreciative, use me, forget what I've done in the past (or at least that's what their actions portray), don't support my ventures in return, or don't include me in other parts of their lives. This used to hurt my feelings and tear me up on the inside. I want people to like me, I want to like them, and I want to feel accepted. But I've realized that I idolized acceptance, and I wanted relationships, friends, and fellowship more than I wanted a relationship with Christ. Now, I am just in my feelings. The Lord has been working on this area of my heart for awhile but it still bothers me. I want to draw into myself and stop loving others so that no one will get on my nerves. Right now, I am being tested in this area heavily and I really want to pass so that I can move on to the next section of this exam. I don't know if you have read my last couple of #FoodForThoughts but they all have a common theme. The Lord is not worried about my businesses, my love life, or my money. God is trying to get me to change my heart and my perspective.

So, I didn't know what else to do but turn to the Word of God. At first, I googled "Scriptures on not liking people" (LOL), but I didn't get a clear search on what I wanted. So I tried to think of one word that summed up how I feel. The word that came to mind, was "Irritated." I was slightly angered, annoyed, roughened, and a little hurt, which are all a reactions to being stimulated by people in the wrong way. Until the end of time, people are going to irritate me and I am going to irritate them. However, there has to be a way to deal with this in a positive manner. So I typed "Irritated" into my YouVersion Bible App search, and this scripture returned:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT)

The answer is LOVE. As Christians, no matter what others do to us, we are supposed to love our brothers and sisters with the love of Christ. The scripture above gave me a guideline or 5 tips for loving others no matter what.

1. Be Patient. We have to wait on God to guide us through our relationships with others. We also can't assume that people understand our point-of-view. Sometimes, we have to wait and give people a chance to process what has transpired. We have to give them the opportunity to respond.

2. Be Kind. It's easy to lash out when you feel like someone has hurt you. But the true test of love and maturity is to be kind. Salt for salt never works. Sprinkle some sugar and kill them softly with kindness. They may be convicted by your kindness and decide to choose love as well.

3. Be Hopeful. Don't think the worst about confrontations and people before you even get in the situation. If you feel that a matter has to be addressed, trust God, let Him lead you, and know that His will be done no matter the outcome. If you do all you can do in a situation to secure a positive outcome, the rest of your hope is in what God wants the result to be.

4. Stand in Truth. Be honest about how you feel and don't be swayed in what you know in your spirit to be the right thing. This tip requires the previous 3 tips because you can't throw shade or low-blows because you know the truth. But if you are convicted by the truth, you have to stand firm in that and leave the rest to Christ. On the flip side, you have to make sure that you acknowledge all of your wrongs, lay them out on the table, apologize, ask for forgiveness from them, the Lord, and yourself.

5. Endure. If all of the above tips fail to yield an end to the irritating instance, you just have to go through this test and trial gracefully. Remember all the "Don'ts" listed in the scripture above: don't be jealous, don't be boastful, don't be rude, don't be demanding, don't keep records of wrong, don't rejoice about their pitfalls, don't give up, and don't lose faith. Simply put, don't be petty. After you have done all you could to love someone through a hard relationship trial, you have to lean on the love and strength of God to get through the hurt.

I hope the tips pulled from the scripture help you to better navigate and even mend the relationships with the people in your life. We can't change people, but we can seek God and let Him change our hearts into one that looks like His. A heart that is not easily irritated but very quick to show compassion. "The greatest of these is Love" & SMOOCHES XOXO.

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