It Starts with Love

We have to love the people we work with. Jesus directed us to. He told us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” He wants you to love the people you work with, even those you don’t particularly like. You can’t minister to someone that you don’t love. And since God is love, He’s not going to show up in a relationship where there is no love.

Love is a choice you make. It’s a verb, not a noun. Sure, there are those who fall in love, as if love were an accident, a hole they fell into. But the kind of love I’m talking about here is volitional love, an act of the will. It’s deciding that you love someone because God made them, God loves them and God instructed you to love them too.

The catalyst for me to begin actively loving people was the discovery of God’s unconditional love for me. God just decided that He loved me. I didn’t look a certain way, belong to a particular political party, have a particular size or shape . . . He just chose to love me. I didn’t grasp that until age 33, but when I did, my attitude toward other people began to change.

You see, if God chose to love me without me doing anything to deserve it, what right do I have to require anyone else to do something or be something before I love them? Love is an attitude of the heart and it’s an attitude that we can choose to have. It forces us to drop our prejudices, our biases, our stereotypes, and our personal opinions. Love is a choice, and an attitude of love is a choice as well.

So much of our ability to love others stems from our experience. If we have been loved, forgiven, cared for, and made to feel secure, then it’s easier for us to give love to others. If we’ve been hurt, rejected, criticized, and lied to, then we have a harder time giving love.

A speaker I heard once, put it this way, “What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket.” If we have bitterness, anger, resentment, jealousy, and guilt in the well of our hearts, then that is what comes up in the bucket of our words, our behavior, and our attitudes.

But if your heart is full of love, gratitude, peace, and forgiveness, those qualities will come up in your bucket. And that’s what those around you will feel.

The key is to train myself to look at people the way God looks at me. If he chooses to love me, just as I am, then what gives me the right to withhold love from other people, just as they are? He forgave me, so I must forgive them. He loved me before I deserved it; I choose to love them whether they deserve it or not.

So, your homework assignment for today is really a heart-work assignment. Take a moment right now and ask God to clear your heart of any resentment that you have for someone at work. Ask Him to relieve you of the hurt feelings you’re holding on to because of someone’s careless words; of that jealousy that you’ve felt for your colleague who’s been playing the one-upmanship game. Ask God to clear the clutter from your relationships and to give you a new capacity to love those around you.

Scripture: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)

Mentor Tip: Practice this with your mentees too. You can’t effectively mentor them if you don’t love them . . . they’ll see right through that and won’t receive the wisdom you have to offer.

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