Have you ever tried to force someone to love? See if you recognize any of these tactics:
- You say or do something nice so they will say or do something nice in return.
- You give them the silent treatment so they will treat you differently.
- You whine.
- You dress in a way to get their attention.
- You talk about what they are doing wrong.
- You tell them what they should do.
- You complain.
- You compare.
- You manipulate.
- You pray that God will change them so they will be nicer and life will be more pleasant for you and others. (Wrong motive)
- Okay, you can mentally list your own tactic right here!
I finally think I’ve got it! (English accent needed here.) You can’t force people to love God. Nor, can you force them to love themselves or you. God didn’t force you. Nor does He force you to love yourself or others. He respects you much more than that. He simply loves you completely and then lets you make the decision to love or not to love. He lets you know the consequences for making either choice.
I’ve discovered that God is the only one who can take the blinders off someone’s eyes so they may see Him. One way that He does that is when He uses believers to genuinely care about and love someone the way He states in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. This is called agape love. (See Love Overflow – Part 2)
You know what I’ve observed? When those who are closest to me see the positive changes in my choices, they sit up and take notice. I believe that my loving kindness softens their hearts. (I know my heart is softened when people are kind to me.)
It’s my hope that someone will ask me how I was able to change. This way, I can tell them about Christ. It’s better to talk about Jesus when someone is open to listening because they want to know, rather than to try to force them to listen to what you have to say. That never works.
I’ve found that nagging may change behavior temporarily, but it never changes a heart. If a loved one is living a lifestyle that goes against God commands, they know whether you approve or not already. (I’m sure you’ve told them, one way or another!) You don’t have to tell them about it over and over again. Be kind. Be loving. Accepting them for who they are, just as they are, doesn’t mean that you are endorsing their lifestyle. It means that you are showing that your love is real, not conditional.
God says that nothing will separate us from His love. So, we should ask God to help us to genuinely love others unconditionally. We must trust that God is faithful from generation to generation and is capable of transforming our family in due season, just as He is continuing to transform us.
Today is a wonderful opportunity to allow God’s love to overflow into your family. Place a call, tweet, text, chat, email a note, send an e-card, send up a prayer, share a hug, a smile, and a kiss, and see if your loved one’s day doesn’t brighten a little. Shine today! Love passionately. Love extravagantly.
Today is your day to allow your love to overflow and then watch God move to draw your loved one a little closer to Him. For He promised that if He was lifted from the earth, all men would be drawn unto Him. While that statement referred to the literal cross on which our Saviour hung and died, I believe that we may apply it to every single act of love that we genuinely display. I want to point the way to Jesus through my compassion, generosity, empathy, and genuine love. How about you?
Unconditional Love can melt a glacier heart. Once it’s pliable, God’s love can change it.
My friend, enjoy your journey. You only get one. Use it to let your family, your friends, your co-workers, feel the power of your agape love. Overflow!
Until next time.
Questions for today – Which of your family members are in need of God’s loving care? How does He want to use you to demonstrate that loving care?
Scriptures to consider:
Joshua 24:15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Romans 12:8 He who exhorts (encourages), to his exhortation; he who contributes, let him do it in simplicity and liberality; he who gives aid and superintends, with zeal and singleness of mind; he who does acts of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness.
This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it. Come back again. You don’t want to miss the next post in this series on Love Overflow.