A Failed Romance
We all knew that guy. He’s the guy from high school who had the huge crush on a girl. During lunch he followed her around the cafeteria–like a puppy following someone with raw meat stuck to their shoe. In the evening, if she didn’t return his call within twenty minutes he started to panic. During the day, he checked his post on Facebook every five minutes to see if she gave it a like.
He smelled of desperation. Which of course had the opposite effect he desired.
Jesus, never did that.
How Jesus Loved People
“There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.” -Jesus Christ, Luke 15:11-13
Ever notice something about this parable? When the youngest son asks the Father for his inheritance, even though he’s not ready to handle it, even though it’s probably obvious he’ll fail to manage it responsibly, the Father gives it to him anyway. And when the youngest son decides to leave, even though he’s not ready to be on his own, even though it’s probably obvious he’ll fail to live responsibly, the Father lets him go. The Father doesn’t pursue His prodigal son, He just stays home and continues being the beautiful and amazing Father He is.
After a conversation with Jesus, the rich young ruler went away sad. And how did Jesus respond? Did he pursue him? Did he say, “Now just hang on a second, let’s talk about this some more.” Did he go to his house and pay him a visit? No, he just let him go. He just continued being the beautiful Son of the Father He is. (Matthew 19:16-23)
Or how about when the Jews were arguing about Jesus’ teaching, saying among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
And Jesus responded by saying, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”
After that statement, many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. (John 6:51-66)
And Jesus let them go. Again He just continued being the amazing Savior He is.
The longer I walk with Christ, the more impressed I am with how serious God is about respecting our free will.
Love Like Jesus
Like the guy in high school who drove away his girlfriend, we can smell like desperation sometimes. Maybe you’ve seen it in parents with teenage children who have turned back and no longer follow Jesus. Or in a girl who desperately wants a certain unbelieving boy to come to Christ. When you’re loving like Jesus, not everyone will respond right away, or even at all. Some will reject your efforts, and that has to be okay at a certain level, or you’ll become like the guy in high school who drove away his girlfriend. Instead you be a person who let’s them go.
You be a person who let’s them go because when you’re prepared to let people go, there’s a paradoxical dynamic that occurs. You relax. You enjoy loving people more. And loving people becomes much easier. It’s just amazing how freeing it is. And that free and easy loving attitude is attractive. It attracts people, to Christ–which is the whole point isn’t it.
So the next time you engage someone, and you’re doing your best to love them to Jesus, don’t stress, be prepared to them go. If they leave don’t pursue them. Just live the most Christlike life you can.
That’s what Jesus did.
You can too.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them… -Jesus Christ, John 6:44