When my ways please the Lord ,He makes even my enemies to be at peace with me! Prov. 16:7
Agape love means, “Seeking the best interest of the other person regardless of the cost to myself.” If there is someone in my life who is doing things which are wrong, according to my understanding of the Bible, then trying to get them to change must be the “Agape” thing and please the Lord. Right? If they won’t listen then I should try to make them listen, “for their own good!” Right?
Have you ever had someone at church start a sentence with, “I’m telling you this for your own good…”? I’ll bet you didn’t wind up feeling that it did much for your good.
I am always trying to help other people and often they refuse to be helped. It should lead to a burden for them, to praying, “Father forgive them and open their eyes”, However it often results in my feeling angry that they wouldn’t let me help them. I am doing better at catching myself and realizing that I was wanting to help them to make me feel good and not just for their welfare. ‘
Don’t forget that the goodness of God led you to repentance. When the rich young ruler walked away from Jesus’ advice because he was too rich, Jesus didn’t run after him and say, “Hey, buster, you can’t ignore the advice of the creator of the universe and get away with it!” No he looked at him and loved him and let him go. (Church history believes that it was Mark who, interestingly, wound up running naked to escape capture as a follower of Christ. Having finally lost literally everything! Mark 14 51-52)
When people are messed up and it is ruining their life, they complain and we point out that their choices need to change if they want different results. Even Einstein said that “If you keep coming at life making the same mistakes that didn’t work yesterday and expect them to work today–you are insane! I saw a funny sketch where someone had a large nail pounded in their forehead and kept complaining of headaches but wouldn’t let anyone point out the nail or try to help them remove it. Naturally we want to get them to line up with God’s truths. But if you really want to maximize the chance that they will allow themselves to benefit, you may need to just respect and love on them. “But, they’ll never change!” Perhaps, but they sure won’t if you nag or give up on them.
Sadly, you and I know people like that and we try to help them and then get mad and we give up. I was listening to a teaching tape on helping pregnant drug addicts and the key to helping them was to treat them as special. The staff learned their names, their children’s names and looked at them and smiled and treated them well. In turn they allowed themselves to be helped. A program in Texas allows alcoholics to have lodging and medical care without having to be sober and treats them with dignity and they often will finally allow themselves to be helped.
Isn’t that what the Lord did for you and me, in that while we were yet sinner Christ died for us? Do you have a person in your life you are desperately trying to change or have given up on and just go around badmouthing them or reviewing the details of how bad they are? Try treating them with respect and seeing them through God’s eyes.
Maybe the way to handle a sinner, after having once voice our concern, is to love them simply love them, and prepare to minister to them when they reap the natural results of their choices and when they are ready for change, to say, ” Hey, I’m the chief of sinners and this is how God has helped me, maybe that will work for you. If I can help you with what I have learned the hard way, that would be great.”