In relationships we have to open ourselves up to the chance of getting hurt if we are to make a real connection with someone. This can be a scary place to be. It's easier to stay holed up away from people, guards up, defenses ready to be released, and walls firmly in place. While this will do nothing to foster relationships, we have to also guard against expecting everyone to be our best friend. It's a fine balance and each and every relationship will play itself out in its own way. The important part is to love them. But that leaves a question: How do we love others?
In a nutshell, loving someone is wanting the best for the other person, trying to understand their heart and where they are coming from, and leaving grace for them to be who they choose to be. Not easy things. Take a look at these three examples:
- Your loved one is offended by something you say, and they let you know it in a harsh manner. How do you love them? Maybe by apologizing for any hurt, even not intended. Maybe by considering their point of view, and adjusting your own. Maybe by remembering to stay humble in the stances we take.
- A facebook friend felt the need to share quotes which attack you in a passive aggressive manner. How do you love them? Maybe by ignoring the quotes. Maybe by accepting they are growing in relationships as well. Maybe by addressing the subject. Maybe by unfriending and letting them be.
- Someone you trusted said words which cut you to the deep. How do you love them? Maybe by telling them how you felt, in a humble and honest way. Maybe by setting up boundaries telling them you wont allow them to treat you that way. Maybe by telling them you want a good relationship with them, and those words aren’t prospering the relationship.
These are just three examples with a few possible ways to love another person. In our lives, the situations and the possibilities of how to love each person are numerous. Loving one person looks differently than loving another, and when we can learn this truth we can live it out. Each relationship will work differently because it's not just you in the relationship, but it's also dependent on another person.
Learning to open ourselves up to someone, but in a careful manner is the fine balance I was speaking of. It's unfair to expect something from someone who can not give it, and it's unfair to not give when it can make a difference. Learning how to love each person is huge. It’s the only way we can live the life God has laid out for us to the fullest.