Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Learning To Love People From the Heart

In review of Philippians 1:7a it says, “It is right for me to feel this way about all of you since I have you in my heart.”

Bottom Line:
It is right that I should feel as I do about all of you. For you have a special place in my heart, for we have all shared together the blessings of God.

What this means to me:
I should have a special place in my heart for those who share the blessings of God with me. Because of our inheritance from God, I should love them from the heart. I need to be careful to not react from my mind but rather from my heart. When someone close to me, tells me something, it is usually from their heart and I need to listen. True heart love begins with understanding why someone feels the way they do. I should ask questions and then listen. Hear the hurt, look for the problems. I need to understand the moods of the people closest to me, why they act the way they do. If I care, I’ll be aware.

So the question is, how can I love people who, even when I do understand them, I find them unlovable?  Philippian 1:8 says, “God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.” (NIV) In the Greek language, the word “affection” is the word for intestines. In Greek society, the Greeks thought that the seat of the emotions was in your stomach, your liver, your internal organs.

So Paul was saying, “I’ve got a gut feeling of love for you.” That is not a natural kind of love.  It is a supernatural kind of love and that’s why Paul said it’s not from himself, but it’s the affection of Christ Jesus. Human love wears out and dries up and dies on the vine. The only kind of love that lasts in spite of heartache and difficulty in tough circumstances is God’s love;  the affection of Jesus Christ.

How can I get this kind of gut love? Romans 5.5 says, “God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to us.” (NIV)  God’s love is not something you work up. Rather it is something that is poured into me by the Holy Spirit as I let Him live in me day-by-day.

So to love the unlovable is to look at them through the eyes of God and ask his Spirit to fill me. It is most important for me to learn to listen better to hear the hurt, to understand the problem. My natural tendency is to start to formulate what to say, thinking I know what they need without fully listening. I can do better at this by stopping, listening, and then pausing first to reflect, ask questions, then respond.