Most of the time, you are able to distinguish between friend and foe. Sometimes, however, you aren’t so sure. It takes time to figure out people and relationships. So, give your relationships time. Be wise and exercise discernment as you explore the parameters that will define each situation. Meanwhile, however, you can genuinely care about each person in the same way God does. That means caring about their salvation, as well as their physical life.
Generally, your life is filled with people you love and with people who don’t care about you. You may also have acquaintances, peers, and business/career partners. We are only going to discuss the two identified categories of relationships in this article.
People You Love
Have you ever anguished over another person who has chosen to not trust Jesus for eternal life? Do you ever weep over someone who doesn’t believe there is a God? What do you do with the sadness that comes from knowing a dear friend will not respond to God’s great offers . . . and that they may be lost?
Inside that other person is a precious heart made in God’s likeness. He put life into them, and He put them into your life. As much as you care for them, God cares even more. He is very aware of their condition: their need to respond to Him. Commit that person to God. No matter what your feelings, keep trusting Jesus to work in their heart. Be ready to share His love with them on a moment’s notice. Carry out consistent choices that prove you love them and trust God’s wisdom and love for them.
Caring About People Who Don’t Care About You
It hurts when certain people decide they don’t care about you. Sometimes it’s impossible to know exactly why they made it their goal to be against you. Sometimes you can point exactly to what went wrong, and an apology would be appropriate. But often, you can’t figure out what went wrong. You’d give almost anything to know how to turn the relationship onto a better path. You wonder with some situations if the chemistry just wasn’t a match. Yet, you still care about their relationship with God.
Regardless, what can you do to ease the pain in your own heart and to accept how it is? May I suggest what Jesus said would heal your heart? Forgive them and let it go into God’s great hands. He is able to do mighty things in them and in you. He is already working a plan. Let that person go into God’s care.
You Are Precious to God and He Loves You
God loves you so much. He sees the people you are burdened for. He is also intimately aware of every hurt you’ve been through. God knows how to handle every scenario. He offers peace to your heart where memories break it. God will not forget any little (or big) thing. You are His adopted child – a child of His promise. He can heal your crushed spirit. (Ps. 34:18) The children of the promise – those who trust Him for eternal life – are being identified as history plays out. Your faith in Christ puts you in a very good place – in God’s forever family. God wants you to invite others: people you cherish, and people who don’t care about you.
What Can You Do As You Wait For Others to Respond?
Relationships, events, and responses have “appointed times.” Because God gives people a choice, their free will is involved. So, how do you wait well for others to make the most critical decision of their life?
First, keep praying for your lost loved one. Keep praying for your enemies. Second, let Him use these cutting realities – sorrows of others’ choices – to purify your own heart and increase your faith in Jesus. Third, friend or foe, always lovingly speak the truth. Care deeply. That, alone, sets you apart from the world. Jesus cares for His friends and His foes. Follow Jesus’ example to love the human race back to Father. You are His representative, a royal priest, a son/daughter under Christ’s blood, God’s special possession. Keep declaring God’s praises. He called you out of darkness into His light. (1 Pet. 2:9)
Are you living close to God who loves you? Are you reaching to others who need the Lord – waiting expectantly to see how God will keep His promises? It’s your move to care about friend and foe.
This article is a peek into my book – It’s Your Move: Strategies in Thinking From Romans. (STRATEGY #35, Rom. 9:1-9) I’m excited to bring this tool to you as a resource for your walk with the Lord. Here is a summary of the content:
Life is like a game of chess. Interesting pieces are placed in a certain order on an equally interesting board of contrasting squares. Then it starts: the strategies, choices, and patterns. It only takes a few minutes to realize you can’t play chess without being very engaged and thoughtful.
That’s how life is. You strategize to live intentionally as you move across life’s board.
The book of Romans provides excellent strategies for life. It is a tutorial for a well-structured, well-lived life. This New Testament book teaches about God’s grace in a clever, logical, strategic, and surprising manner. It helps you process critical ideas even as it gives you options and examples. As you engage these ideas from Romans, you find yourself adopting a long view perspective that stretches your comfort zone. And then one day, you realize that you are resolved. You, indeed, know that – “with God, all things are possible.” (Mt. 19:26) This gives you the edge you need on the gameboard of life.
Rather than debate theology, It’s Your Move helps you study and apply Scriptural concepts in practical ways. When you get up in the morning for another day, you need information and resources to help you make good decisions. You need strategies in thinking, because – ready or not –
– It’s your move.