The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Loving Others

You Love God But You Hate People: Why You’re Not a Spiritual Failure

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Can you be a devoted Christian who is greatly pleasing God if you currently loathe other humans?  The modern Church, the apostle Paul, and the apostle John would all say no.  God would say yes. Now let’s explain.

God has always taught that He is to be our First Priority—so much so that we should be willing to lose our relationships with other humans for the sake of honoring Him.  It doesn’t always get to that point, but that is the goal.  You see, God doesn’t just call us to be sort of into Him—He commands us to obsessively love Him.  We are to consider Him our All-in-All, our Master, our Commander, our King.  God is supposed to be the One who we are living to please.  His opinion is supposed to trump all others in our minds.  His approval is supposed to be everything to us.  Read more of this post

Loving People Like God Does: What it Means & How You Get There

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If your overall experience of humanity so far has been positive, then you’re probably not feeling too bothered by God’s command that we love others.  And with the Church constantly promoting people as more important than God, it’s going to make you feel a lot more comfortable on Sunday morning if you aren’t harboring a deep hatred for your fellow humans in your soul.  When the pastor starts expounding on the importance of loving our neighbors, you can say to yourself, “No sweat, I like people.” Yes, you do.  But your main reason for liking them is that they’ve been pretty decent to you. Your “love” for people is based on the fact that they have been doing a decent job of meeting your personal expectations so far.  Well, this isn’t love, this is approval. When you say “I like people,” what you really mean is, “I approve of people.” Should those people who you currently approve of do something awful to you, all of a sudden your attitude towards them would change drastically.

In this post, we’re talking to those of you who really don’t like people.  Maybe you hardcore hate them.  What is your repulsion based on?  Well, you’re using the same standards as the folks who claim to love their fellow humans: you’re focused on approval.  In your case, you feel that your overall experience of humans is very negative.  Maybe you used to like them until some of them really went out of their way to trash you.  Or maybe you’ve hated people ever since the beginning because they’ve never been anything but nasty to you.  Either way, here you are, hating people.  So now what?  Read more of this post

Choosing the Right Priorities: How does God want us to treat our brothers?

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“How should I treat my brother?” The common Christian answer to this classic question is “Treat others the way you’d want to be treated.” Or we might say, “God commands us to love one another.” And while these are useful guidelines to have in mind, in real life, we often need more specific instruction. What exactly does loving your brother look like? What if you currently hate him because of something he did to you? While Christians often talk as if love and forgiveness are qualities that we can just pluck off a shelf whenever we feel like it, in real life, we often find ourselves at a total loss when it comes to the resources we need to treat others as we’d want to be treated. So then what? Read more of this post

Compassion Training: Focusing on Principles Instead of Particulars

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God is an incredibly merciful and compassionate Being. He’s so much these things that it often makes us mad. We don’t want God to be empathetic towards that jerk who just hurt us in some major way. In such moments, we want God to be on our side and only on our side. Yet this isn’t how He is. God is on everyone’s side. He is full of empathy for you as well as for your enemy, and in both cases, His empathy is quite sincere. It really bothers us—this idea of nasty people and bad people getting buckets of blessings from God. It really bothers us that slackers, creeps, perverts, and bullies could wind up in the very same Heaven that we’re planning on going to. Well, it might bother us, but this is how God operates, so there it is. God isn’t going to dial down how merciful He is just to suit us. He delights in things like compassion, patience, grace, and forgiveness—all of which are qualities that we really struggle to develop. Read more of this post

Distressing Truths About God’s Love

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Human love is largely based on need. We love when it personally benefits us to do so, and those we love most are those we need the most. We don’t like the idea that we are so self-centered in our attempts to love, but there it is. If you doubt it, just look at how devastated we become when we are suddenly separated from those we love. Many of us become so emotionally paralyzed that we spend the rest of our lives pretending the dead are still with us.  We talk to their pictures, we get tattoos on our bodies to symbolize their presence with us, we carry around their material possessions, and we become extremely defensive whenever someone says something less than complimentary about their memory.

Why is it so hard for us to cut ties and move on? Because that person filled a critical emotional or psychological need for us and we can’t afford to let that need go unmet. Hovering parents, possessive lovers, and high-maintenance friends: we’ve come up with these negative labels to describe the suffocation we feel when some other person tries to force us to meet their emotional needs. Every human relationship is made up of two people doing a give and take. No relationship gets off the ground unless someone sees the potential for someone else to benefit them and someone else is willing to do some giving. Things get ugly when one person tries to do all the taking. But where did all this neediness come from in the first place? Read more of this post