How NOT to Grow Close

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35

"Thanks, Jesus, but that's not for me. Loving others... I don't really have time. Frankly, I don't want to take the risk. To be honest, I don't really care about others. And, if you want, I've got a few more excuses. Anything to keep me from having to put myself out there."

If this is you, then here are a few suggestions on how NOT to grow close with other Christ followers:

  • DO NOT spend time with other church members outside of church. You already see them an hour or so a week. Who really wants more close friends? You don’t need anyone. You’re fine all by yourself. Who really wants to get to know anyone else better?
  • DO NOT seek out and meet the needs of church members. Like we said, you are fine by yourself. They should be just fine by themselves too. Why would you want to burden yourself with someone else’s problems? You can just say you love them—and smile or even put an arm around them—but don’t actually do anything about it.
  • DO NOT let anyone know the real you. You don’t even like the real you sometimes, what makes you think they will? And if they know the real you, well, that might be... humbling. And you don’t want that. Keep to yourself. Don’t let anyone in. It’s safer for everyone that way.
  • DO NOT encourage others. We don’t wanna throw praise around. We don’t want folks to have any reason for vanity. No, don’t encourage them even if they seem down or discouraged. You might get trapped into truly caring for them.
  • DO NOT show any excitement about God’s work in your life or anyone else’s. If you talk like that, then people might talk about you too. You don’t want people to think God really moves in your lives, do you? They might think you are weird.
  • DO NOT get connected or volunteer for anything. Just smile and nod when someone asks, but walk right by the sign up. Just tell them you’ll pray about it. Of course, you really won't.
  • DO NOT say anything good to, or about, anyone. If you absolutely want to make sure to keep others far away, then let them have it. Gossip. Slander. Talk ugly. Be mean. Whatever it takes. If none of the previous suggestions work, then this one should for sure.

The above suggestions are what NOT to do. They are meant in jest. Yet they contain truth.

Trusting that you really DO want to grow close in your love for others, what do you suggest?

Leave a comment below including your creative ideas on growing close through loving others.

Consider Your Life

It is a new year. 

I wonder if you have taken some time to consider your life.

I have done such considering these past days.  Not because of the calendar however, but as the result of a message received this past gusty, freezing Thursday night.

A friend since junior high, a fellow pastor, hubby & daddy to two young children, John Franklin, was dead.  He died in a hunting accident.  But he lived.  Wow, did he live to the fullest.

If you asked for one word to describe John, I'd say: Passionate.  Passionate in his love for Jesus.  Passionate in his love for his wife.  Passionate about loving his kids.  Passionate in loving anyone he met.  He loved in a way that elevated the object of his love.  He loved otherish.

We live like we will live forever.  Expecting tomorrow.  Assuming next year.  Procrastinating actions.  Delaying decisions.  Reasoning that we'll have time.  Yet.  In an instance.  We might die.  A accident.  An illness.

Consider your life.

Not because it is a new year, but because you do not know how many years, or hours, you may have.

Consider your life.

Are you absolutely certain that if you were to die right now that you could say, "I have trusted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior & Lord"?  If you confess Jesus as Lord & believe God raised him from the dead you will be saved states Romans 10:9.  You do not need to have all the answers.  You do need to know you have sinned, broken God's laws, & that you need a Savior.

Consider your life.

If you have given your heart to Jesus in the past, are your truly living for him today?  John posted on his blog the day before his death, quoting a prayer from Ephesians 3:17-18 "...that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge."  You won't get it right all the time.  You can ask God to know his love more intimately & live like Christ more fully moment by moment.

Consider your life.

John & his dear wife, Penny, are pictured here.  Pray for her, his two young children, his family & friends.

Click here to go to John's blog.  Listen as he sings & chats with his kids.  Recorded just 15 days before his unexpected death.

Consider your life.