rebelling against low expectations

How can I love my friends without idolizing them?


JOHN WRITES: It’s easy for me to be selfish and self-focused in my relationships with others. I’m friends with people so that I can feel accepted. I’m friends with people who say good things about me, and I don’t really love people. I want them to love me. I know that I should focus on loving people rather than focusing on myself, but it can be hard sometimes. Do you have any advice for me on how to start loving my friends rather than making idols of them?

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  • The most pertinent piece of advice I’ve heard on this question is that “When we let God be God, we can let humans be human.” And I do believe this is a Harris quote… In any case, true friendship makes sense only when we embark on the process of continually redefining our identity in terms of our relationship with God. Only then can we have the confidence to form genuine friendships which are not based on self-interests or an unfulfilled longing for security.

    I have to admit that this is one of many areas in which I am very ignorant and inexperienced. I think it’s possible that for much of my life I’ve fallen prey to a faulty concept of friendship, similar to the one you described. Recently, however, God has helped me to make some small steps in the right direction. The good news is that as we grow in our understanding of friendship, it helps us better appreciate our true position before God – and vice versa.

    Hope this makes sense.

  • I’m with the ear guy, when you’re satisfied in God you’ll see the sin of idols and be repulsed by it. As for actually doing it, stay with your church, run to the Word, and pray like crazy. Sorry I don’t have more but I hope this helps.

  • John, This is a struggle for me as well. I think a great way to start is simply by letting your love for Christ exceed the need to be loved and accepted by other people. Selfless, Christlike love stems from cultivating a relationship with Him. We can demonstrate love for other people when His love is overflowing out of our hearts and it will spill into and impact the lives around us. Loving other people, although not easy is essential to naming the name of Christ. The motivation and truest example is from God Himself who demonstrated the purest of love:

    “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” >>1 John 4:7-12

    When we give Him first place, it dethrones idols from our heart and puts Him in His rightful place as Lord and Savior. A good test to see the temperature of our hearts is 1 Corinthians 13. Is our love patient with others? Is our love kind? You get the idea. 🙂

  • If there is no love in your heart for these people, it seems that you may have made yourself an idol. There is no way that you will be successful in your efforts until you recognize this as a serious sin issue and that repentance must be your first step. I appreciate the fact that you are concerned about this. That is a big step.

    God bless,
    Ms. Jean

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →