Love one another as I have loved you

Martin had a hard time confronting people. As a supervisor, Martin found it very difficult to tell those who worked for him that they were doing something wrong. He was afraid that if he did this they would no longer like him or think he was a great guy. So, what would happen from time to time was that Martin would keep all of this frustration inside until one day he would just explode and then there’d be a scene. After that there would have to be the “picking up of the pieces” and trying to put things back on the right track.

On one particular occasion, Martin was in one of those “picking up the pieces” kind of situations. As he was walking back to his office he asked himself, “Why do I do this?” In trying to answer this question he had to admit that ultimately he wanted people to like him; he presumed people didn’t like him. But as far as being a supervisor was concerned, was he doing what was best for those he was responsible?

To try and please people as your main goal can be dangerous. In the end, Martin was starting to realize that it would be more productive to address issues as they came up and not try to be “best friends” with those he worked. His co-workers would probably have more respect for him in the end. He would also be able to help those people be better at their jobs.

Here’s another example: Two parents are debating what to do with their son who has found himself, for a third time, in jail because of a run-in with police. Of course, the bottom line again was drugs and alcohol abuse. In the past Mom and Dad had gotten him out of jail and coved things up as much as they could. Their son didn’t want any part of the rehab that was suggested and then required, and the parents didn’t force him. Obviously their “game plan” hadn’t gotten them or their son anywhere. Perhaps the best thing they can do as parents is to let their son face the consequences of his decisions—as difficult as that might be. It’s more dangerous trying to pretend that there’s nothing wrong, especially now that it is so obvious. Maybe the best way to show their love for their son is doing the very thing that their son doesn’t want.

Love one another as I have loved you.

Famous words. Familiar words. But what do they mean? Here’s what they mean: here is how you show that you love another person…by doing what is best for that other person. Loving another person doesn’t mean that we ignore problems or try to pretend that are a certain way when we know they are not. Facing issues, even though it may be painful, is usually the better way to go. And this is the way that is more pleasing to God. It is usually the path that leads to new life.

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