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“How can you possibly think that?!?! Are you stupid or something?” “I will not allow you to do that!!” “What do you mean why am I so upset? Why aren’t you MORE upset? Don’t you realize what can happen?!?!” “Trust me, this is for your own good!” …Part of being sinners means that every part of us is tainted with sin…and love is no exception. We are often the most unfair and the most brutal to the people we love most. And it’s not an accidental thing – it’s not that we accidentally act brutally toward (and violate the rights of) people we love… we sometimes do this in the name of love, because we love! “Because I love you so much – for your own good – I will bend you to my will!” though you are an adult, I am taking away your personal rights to think and decide for yourself when it comes to this topic…” Instead of helping our loved ones, we try to devour their will with ours.
“What’s so wrong with that?” someone asks. “If the person I love is thinking something stupid, or about to do something that is wrong – why can’t I, out of love – do whatever it takes to stop him or her?”
The short answer is… because you’re really doing this for YOU. It’s NOT entirely “love” that’s motivating you – it’s love mixed in with a sinful desire to exert your own “wants” over the “wants” of your loved one… and sinful pride that makes you think you know better than God (more on that in a minute). It’s the same impulse that makes people dictators instead of benevolent rulers. *And it’s the same impulse that YOU yourself would fight against tooth and nail if it were done to you…*
In the Bible, we see that God loves people INTENSELY… And yet He never switches anyone into robot mode. God loves YOU intensely, and yet He still allows you to sin – be proud – and try to exert your will over other people, usurping His role in their lives… Instead He TELLS you (speaks) his mind, and then allows you to make your choice. He doesn’t undermine your dignity and choice, but honors it, and pleads with you. The God who commands the universe into existence pleads with you – allows His word to go through your mind, tug at your heart, and allows you to reason rather than forcing you.
“So what can I do? if I can’t force people I love to do what’s best for them?” You can do two things: 1) humble yourself… Because maybe (just maybe) you don’t actually know what’s best all the time – so you COULD be wrong about this too. 2) Talk to them with non-manipulative words… Tell them what you think, saying “I think – – -” and what you feel, saying “but I feel – – -.” And love them enough to treat them like a grown up human being – the way YOU yourself would want to be treated…