Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)
Why does it seem that everyone has an opinion about everything now-a-days? Why is it rare for someone to say, “That’s great,” “I’m happy for you,” or “What an accomplishment!” instead of highlighting the few mistakes or ways to make the finished product “better?” Why are my personal preferences for parenting, religion, hobbies, and health scrutinized by strangers or made the topic of debate with people who don’t even know me? Why, if I choose to believe or fight for something some don’t agree with, am I considered wrong?
I have to stop and think about the above questions and ask myself, “Is that my job?” Is it my responsibility to change someone’s mind? Is it my obligation to present the facts in such a way that someone else feels pressured to switch to my mindset? Who put me in charge to sway other’s decisions to my preferences, interests, or likes? If I were to practice the above principles, is that something that would please my Heavenly Father?
I have to think the answer would be no. And here’s why. The Bible tells me in Matthew 22:36-40, when a Pharisee tested Jesus with the question of, “…which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus’ answer? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (NIV)
No where does God tell me it’s my job to condemn, criticize, change, or sway a person to my views. In all honesty, if I were to get someone to “agree” with my opinion after an intense argument, what is the likelihood they have changed their mind permanently? More than likely, they are just agreeing so I will stop talking. No, honest, true change happens in the heart and I don’t know of anyone who has had a heart change after being belittled, criticized, or condemned.
So, what is my job? My job is to love. Love people. I don’t have to agree with or condone behaviors that don’t line up with my relationship with my Heavenly Father but I also don’t have to condemn others if they choose to make those decisions. My job is to love. Accept the person. Let others know they are valuable, loved, worthy, and unique. And, introduce them to our Father. Then let God be the One, in His time, to show the person what actions line up with His Word. He’s more than capable. Just another reason why I love having a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father.
© Cheri Swalwell 2014