And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
As an unsaved man, I didn’t really have much time for people. In fact, truth be told, I felt as if I didn’t care much at all for the majority of people I met (although I’m told by others that I wasn’t actually that bad!). I didn’t hate people or anything, or consider myself better than them in any way, I just didn’t have anything in common with those whose path’s I crossed during that time in my life. I just saw people as boring, petty, selfish, angry, horrible, vain, etc., and simply didn’t want to spend any time with them.
And then I got saved! Praise the Lord!
Did I all of a sudden start loving people? No. Did I all of a sudden start caring about them and wanting to spend time with them? No. A love and care for others developed over the post-salvation years as the Holy Spirit did a work in me. And indeed is still doing a work, and will always be doing a work in me until I get up with Him in glory (Phili. 1:6).
As saved Christians, our service for the Lord is largely to do with people, whether we like being around or dealing with them or not. It’s the number two priority given to us by God – the first priority of course being God Himself.
It was people that Jesus came to seek and to save; it was people for whom He died. People relationships are therefore extremely important for ALL Christians.
Here’s a number of questions to ask yourself:
- What’s my true personality? My temperament?
- How do I cope with or relate to other people?
- Do I find it easy or difficult to initiate a conversation with a stranger or a friend?
- Do I find it easy or difficult to make or maintain friends?
- Am I afraid of people generally?
- Am I trusting or suspicious of people?
- Do I love or hate being surrounded by a crowd?
- Do I love or hate being alone?
- Do I need people or can I get along without them?
- Do I depend on people for my self-esteem?
- Do I use people for my own personal advantage?
- Am I careful to maintain confidentiality?
- Can people trust and rely on me?
- Do I love people to come to my house?
- Do I find it easy to contribute to a group conversation?
- Once I have a friendship do I sustain it or damage it or drop it?
- Am I forgiving or do I hold grudges?
- Do I find it easier to relate to some people than to others?
- Do I love my enemies or just my friends?
- Do I avoid people?