Stop Trying To Fix People. Just Love Them.

Stop Trying To Fix People. Just Love Them. March 22, 2019

 

So…I had a dream last night. It was kinda strange, but I woke up wondering what it meant.

Part of it was someone looking at me and urging me to “be the scientist” I was meant to be.

There was a bit about trying to tune a radio to find a station but it never would come in.

Then we were walking through the forest, up a hill. Someone was asking me if I was a Prophet or an Apostle. I started explaining how I might be a little one or the other, but I wasn’t sure.

There was another bit where a friend and I went into a little child’s playhouse and sat in this balcony overlooking a yard, almost like a hidden tree house thing. She started  doing this little dot-dash pattern on a writing tablet or book as if she was trying to help me figure out what my gifts or calling were.

Like I said, weird.

But, then it got weirder. This morning on the train I’m reading the next chapter of this book, “The Cure”, by John Lynch, and I come across this part:

“Some of the most disingenuous and useless relationships are those where one has an agenda in another’s life, seeing ourselves as SCIENTISTS seeking a solution for disease in a twisted lab experiment. These people assume some equation of holiness: Four hours of small group study plus thirty minutes memorizing scriptures, multiplied by challenge, conviction and demand make the subject sin less and become a more productive church member.”

How did I dream about something I hadn’t read yet?

But honestly the whole chapter started to make me wonder if what I’ve been trying to do is to come up with some agenda where I can “fix” people. And maybe all I really need to do is to just help people understand that they are loved? That they can really open themselves up to be loved by us and by God and by others?

Later on this same chapter it says:

“The spiritually immature are not loved well, but it is not because they fail. They are not loved well because they fail to trust the love of another. Because they trust no one, their needs aren’t met. Because their needs aren’t met, they live out of selfishness. Not only do they not receive love, they don’t give it either.”

I wonder if this is really our core issue? Do we fail to respond to God’s love because we don’t really trust that we are lovable?

Do we keep ourselves walled off from others because we don’t trust that we will be loved if people really knew all about us?

Do we shut ourselves off from God, and from others, because in our heart of hearts we’re just not convinced we are worth loving, or that if others knew us deeply that we would still be deeply loved?

Maybe so.

And if so, then maybe the cure is to start learning how to really receive God’s love. As it says in 1 John: “We love because He first loved us.” Not simply chronologically. It’s like a catalyst: We only know how to love because we have first received His love that transcends knowledge.

Once we really begin to believe that we are loved, and that His love won’t stop or change or go away if we screw up, then we begin to be changed by His love. It starts to transform us from within. We relax. We discover the freedom to be who we really are. We suddenly realize our masks are obsolete. We drop them on the ground, or absently forget them under the chair, as we start to laugh, and sing, and dance and enjoy being loved!

We finally start to believe it – really, really BELIEVE – that WE ARE LOVED!

Once we fully accept and trust that we are loved by God – forever, without fluctuation or conditions – then we experience the glorious freedom of being His Beloved in the here and now.

That’s when we have the best hope of helping others to break free of their chains and begin to believe that they, too, are loved beyond measure.

It’s a process, but we’re all made to be loved, and to love others, so the more we begin to move in this direction and to trust our Abba, the easier it all becomes to us. Soon, what sounds strange to our ears is the idea that we’re unworthy, or broken, or sinful, or that we’re full of darkness. Our hearts refuse to hear it. Our heads shake back and forth as our lips whisper: “Not anymore we’re not!”

We reach a point where we fully accept our identity as “the one the Lord loves” and our lives become re-calibrated to a new rhythm and pattern of being: We are the children of God. We are the one’s He loves. We are being transformed daily into His image. Christ is alive in us and He will never, ever leave.

Halleluiah!

So, I’m giving up on trying to be a “Scientist” who wants to “fix people”. My calling is to be one who proclaims the Good News that they are dearly loved of God and that if they put their hope in Jesus, He will show them how to be loved by God and how to love others out of that glorious relationship.

**

Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.

His new book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.

He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” with a Foreword by Greg Boyd.

Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. 

BONUS: Want to unlock exclusive content including blog articles, short stories, music, podcasts, videos and more? Visit my Patreon page.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Ocelot Aardvark

    “Do we fail to respond to God’s love because we don’t really trust that we are lovable?” – Keith Giles

    Jesus commanded: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” – Mark 12:31

    A commandment which means to not only love our neighbors (everyone) but to love ourselves too. Sometimes that’s harder to do.

  • Chuck Johnson

    Keith, you are still trying to fix people.
    Your latest brainstorm is the panacea of telling everyone that they are loved by God and Jesus.
    Making this a better world requires more knowledge, insight and effort than just this.

  • igor

    A take-away message from this is that if you are to love/help others, you must realise beforehand that God/Jesus loves you. A sort of two-stage process.

    What this doesn’t say is that it is equally possible to be a good humanist and love/help others without any consideration of God/Jesus. There are many non-theists who do this every day.

  • KontraDiction

    I think it’s a pretty deep message. It seems to be a common Christian tendency to view other people as “projects” to fix. I like Jesus’s advice best to remove the log from your own eye first. And the biggest log could easily be that gaping insecurity from feeling unworthy, unlovable. Filling that first, either through recognizing God’s love for us or a more humanist perspective of recognizing our place and purpose in life, would fill the hole and provide the spiritual means to overflow naturally with love for others.

  • soter phile

    If you reject the God who defines ‘love’ & ‘goodness’, this (equally possible) comparison is disingenuous.

    You don’t have to be a Christian to have the intellectual honesty to admit we have differing definitions.

    Claiming you are good & loving without God is actively begging the question.

  • igor

    Hi SP, It seems that you are suggesting that a Christian theist might use a definition of love/goodness that relates to or involves the God of Christianity whereas a non-theist might use a definition of love/goodness that does not relate to or involve the God of Christianity. This might be categorised as a statement of the obvious.

    If a recipient of love/goodness cannot perceive any difference between the two, is there any point wasting time with an imagined God? rgds..

  • soter phile

    Interesting that you consider the differing definitions as obvious, but not the practical implications.

    If we both say “milk”, but you mean the drink & I mean arsenic… the implications are commensurately different. To say we’re only having a debate in the abstract misses the according reality. (And it presses for the underlying discussion: who is objectively correct?)

    Again, you seem to want to beg the question here – by which I mean the logical fallacy. You begin by assuming any god is “imagined”, which is an attempt to settle the debate by assuming the very thing under debate is already decided. That is the definition of begging the question.

    You do not have to be a Christian to acknowledge:
    a) not only that we have very different definitions of love (which you already are purposefully mocking, so I’ll take as acknowledgement), but also…
    b) that those differing definitions frequently manifest in differing practical expressions.

    So, to answer bluntly your final question above:
    No – anyone paying attention will recognize we have very differing ideas and therefore differing expressions of what love is, even if on occasion we take similar actions.

  • igor

    Hi SP, I offer my apologies if you take any offence (you don’t seem to do so) with the way I sometimes express myself. I assume that like me, you have thick skin.

    imagination – because there has been and is no direct evidence for any God (and no God has been seen), the only way to visualise a God is via one’s imagination. It may be stating the obvious, but given the large number of versions of theistic religion, each of which has a particular/different version of God, at best only one can be true, so all others must be imagined. I see no reason to think that your God is the one that exists.

    question-begging – I think that it is usually the other way around. We know that material/physical things (aka naturalistic things) exist to the extent that we know anything. We can pre-suppose the unverified assumption that there exists something non-naturalistic (in this case a God).

    So it is not a case of me pre-supposing the non-existence of anything non-natural – it is a case of me not pre-supposing the existence of anything non-natural. It is the proponents of the non-naturalistic who are going beyond the verified into the realm of pure imagination. And that is a case of anything-goes. In the case of a God, there are many different versions of a pre-supposed God of which yours is just one. If there is a God and if this God intervenes/reveals, I would expect convergence over time to a single theistic religion, but we do not see this. So it may be more reasonable to state that the pre-supposition of a particular God is the question-begging you should be referencing.

    love – each version of theistic religion has a definition of love, usually related to the particular God(s) of the religion, and often relating to agape. Also, the various categories of non-theists (including non-theistic religions) have various definitions of love, which usually include agape. So in all we have many variations in definitions of love. Some may claim superiority of their (definition of) love, whereas others see a universality with difference. When I say difference, I mean the variation in human personalities as well as nature/nurture. But don’t think for a moment that you have any exclusivity to agape – it is widespread amongst non-Christian theists as well as non-theists, and it certainly does not require a God. rgds..

  • soter phile

    you said: …because there has been and is no direct evidence for any God…
    again your premise begs the question. as I said before, existence itself is a direct refutation of this claim. even a scientific genius of the caliber of Stephen Hawking recognized this problem and attempted to address it in his book, Grand Design. but as many critics (secular & non) pointed out, while he may be a scientific genius, when he ventured into philosophy he made elementary errors. and that criticism alone should be a reason for pause for your materialism here – something which you consistently are failing to acknowledge is a metaphysical foundation for your beliefs. and that failure to recognize your own metaphysical basis leads to self-refuting dismissals of all metaphysical bases. NB: that critique is not contingent on you accepting my particular system of beliefs.

    question begging: i think you should look up this logical fallacy. your responses are not addressing the critique, which seems to indicate you either are unaware of it or don’t understand it. Case in point…

    you said: We know that material/physical things (aka naturalistic things) exist to the extent that we know anything.
    No, this is precisely an example of begging the question. to what epistemology are you appealing? right back to materialism we go – which, again, is the very thing under debate.

    to be clear, you don’t have to agree with me to state your position – but when you assume everyone takes your point as a given, especially when I’ve specifically stated otherwise, it’s either a failure to hear the difference or a purposeful misrepresentation.

    You are presupposing a large set of things about “knowing”. A whole lot has been written in philosophy on this – how do we define it, on what basis, differing perspectives and claims. And it continues to be debated. But this is the foundation for all other claims (including scientific ones). When you jump in & assume “of course everyone thinks this way”, it shows:
    a) you are unaware of the scholarship
    b) you are under the false impression that “all smart people think like me” (Charles Taylor’s critique comes to mind)

    You are venturing into the same problem Stephen Hawking had. Consider this much for your materialistic naturalism: science purposefully employs “methodological naturalism” – as distinct from “philosophical naturalism”. The former operates “as if” there was nothing else, but carefully stressing the “as if”, thereby avoiding making the leap of faith in claiming that is the case. By contrast, philosophical naturalism outright makes the claim – something that cannot be proven (i.e., it is unscientific). It is a ‘leap of faith.’ Hence, materialism is a faith-based system.

    Take it from Nietzsche:
    Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as science ‘without any presuppositions’; this thought does not bear thinking through, it is paralogical: a philosophy, a ‘faith,’ must always be there first of all, so that science can acquire from it that direction, a meaning, a limit, a method, a right to exist. … The truthful man, in the audacious and ultimate sense presupposed by the faith in science, thereby affirms another world than that of life, nature, and history; and insofar as he affirms this ‘other world,’ does this not meant that he has to deny its antithesis, this world, our world? … It is still a metaphysical faith that underlies our faith in science.

    love: your arguments here are self-defeating. the very things to which you object as ‘imaginary’ are the central pieces that inform theists’ understanding of & claims about love. you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. if you are dismissing the primary concepts (and from what you’ve said, that seems given), you cannot then double back & claim they are essentially the same.

    for example, take Christianity: God creating our physical existence (something you deny) apart from merely utilitarian goals or necessity (something materialism denies) but purely out of joyful self-donation, giving freedom to his creation which we then proceeded to abuse, and yet God willingly pursued us anyway, even at his own great expense, in order to demonstrate his character (both justice and mercy). these things you dismiss as (at best) fables or moral aphorisms that might prove useful for social darwinism. but again, that is directly contrary to what Christians are claiming about love.

    (for that matter, almost any comparative religion class is willing to admit that Trinitarian love and/or the cross do represent radically unique claims about God and therefore concepts of love that – while they may share some commonalities – are nonetheless distinct from those any other religion is making.)

    by contrast to Christianity, a non-theistic evolutionary system necessarily views love as merely a foil for the optimization of the gene pool, in order that DNA and our species might survive as long as possible before the eventual heat death of our universe (thanks, Christopher Hitchens). altruism may exist as a socially useful concept, but it (and love) remain merely a foil for “greater” materialistic purposes. but i haven’t found many materialists willing to be that honest with their date.

    No, we mean very different things by the term ‘love’.