Loving People

by Dave Stewart

 Galatians 5:14, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

     God loves people! One of the hardest things in the world to do is to love unloving people. It is not only possible, it is commanded by God. We are commanded in the Bible to "love thy neighbor as thyself." God never tells us to do something impossible. If God tells us to do something, it is possible to do. God expects us to love our neighbor as our self . . . 

"...thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD." —Leviticus 19:18

What is love? Plain and simple, love is treating people the way God wants us to treat them. The world sings and talks about "love," but they have no concept of true love. True love is based on things that do not change. A person's appearance may change, but that will not affect our love for them if it is God's love. If we say we love God, but love not people; then we are liars. We are to love God and to love our fellow man. 

Jesus died for all people. There are many different types of personalities in this world. We must learn to let people be people.  Everybody is unique.  I have met some strange people in my life.  I've found them all to be unique people with unique burdens and a need for someone to care about them.  People are starving for love.  Oftentimes, seemingly mean people are nothing more than misunderstood people.  They just can't seem to "fit in."  It is important that we don't judge people based upon what we think life should be.  I am not saying we should compromise our standards or beliefs.  I am saying that we need to try to be understanding with people.

I worked with a Mexican man named Moreno.  He was one of the custodians in our facility.  He was a quiet guy and kind of a recluse.  He had a drinking problem.  He just stayed to himself and didn't really talk to anybody.  I befriended him one day and shared the gospel with him.  He became a believer and started asking me questions.  I gave him a small booklet of the gospel of John.  He lived in that little Bible.  He wore it all out and I gave him another one, and another.  He eventually gave up his drinking.  He found the Lord because someone was understanding with him.

Some people are hard hearted, or at least seem to be.  We just don't know what God may be doing in their heart (1st Samuel 16:7).  The same sun that melts the wax, hardens the clay.  Our job is to express God's love to people by respecting them and sharing the Word of God with them.  Sometimes, love means not sharing the Word of God with them.  I worked with a man who didn't like what he termed "Bible-thumpers."  I never preached to him and said nothing about the Bible.  I did however, place a few small Scriptures discreetly inside my toolbox (but visible to anyone looking at my toolbox).  He never heard me take God's name in vain.  He saw me look away when the other men flashed pornography in my face.  He knew that I placed gospel tracts around the building from time to time.  One day he came to me and to my surprise said, "You know what I like about you?  You never try to force religion on me.  You aren't like those other Bible-thumpers who always talk about religion."  Now the other man I mentioned, Moreno...we can talk about the Bible all day. 

You see, people are different.  I try to let people be people.  Arguing with people will only shed more heat than light.  As the saying goes, you catch more bears with honey.  I do not argue religion with anyone, unless I am challenged in the presence of others; in which case I will use it as an opportunity to witness to the crowd without them even knowing it.  People do listen.  The most important thing I've learned about witnessing to people is RESPECT.  If you care about people and show them the utmost respect, they WILL listen to you at some point.  I work with a guy who loves to cut out newspaper articles for other people.  Anytime he reads an article that he thinks might be of interest to someone, he cuts out the article and brings it to them.  That says a lot about him.  He's a Catholic without the Lord, but he has as many friends as anyone else in the building.  He cares about people, and they listen to him.  We need to look for similar opportunities to do good to people because it turns their heart towards us, and hopefully at some point we'll be able to turn their heart towards God.  This is what Proverb 11:30 means when it says "...he that winneth souls is wise."  We must win their hearts before we can win their minds.  We must be smarter than the average bear.

I have used praise on numerous occasions to win over a person's heart.  I'll brag on a coworker in the presence of my manager to make the coworker look good (sincerely of course).  There's always something positive about anyone that we can praise them for.  I can see that ego working, they're soaking it all up.  I've had people do the same to me.  I know what there doing, but I don't mind it a bit...keep talking.  We all need praise.  Everyone likes a pat on the back.  I've turned enemies into friends just by saying one kind word about them in the presence of another person.  This is love.  We must have mature minds about things like this.  Many people have small minds and can't think beyond people's words and criticisms.  As believers, we need to grow up and think "bigger."  We need to look for root causes in people instead of reacting to their surface feelings.

God loves people and so must we.  What will this all matter 10,000 years from now?  Or even 100 years from now?  Life will be over before we know it.  Let's spend our days wisely looking beyond people's anger and maliciousness, and see the evil spiritual forces at work.  Our battle is not against people, it is against the devil (and that battle is the Lord's).  By loving others, we are doing something that Satan is incapable of doing...loving.  No wonder the Bible says, "Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world" (John 4:4).  For God is love!

In Jesus' name,

David J. Stewart


"Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days."

—Ecclesiastes 11:1


 King James Bible 1611

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