Love the way they need, not the way you want

Posted by Albert Ng on

It is a myth that we naturally and intuitively know how to love. 
Here, I am not talking about just romantic love, though it is also included. Instead, I am talking about another kind of love that Jesus mentioned in Matthew 22:39, “love your neighbour.”  

Neighbour? What neighbour?

Your neighbours include your colleagues, project teams, clients, the guy sitting next to you … you name it.  If you are leading a team, your direct reports are your “immediate neighbours.”
Now, pause for 10 seconds, and let the faces of your “neighbours” show up at your mind’s screen. Say their names in your mind, or out loud if no one is nearby.  

Jesus says, “Love your neighbour.”  

In Philippians 1:9-10, Apostle Paul has an insightful prayer:  

He says, “this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best … ”  

Interesting! Paul doesn’t simply say, “you should love one another.” Instead, he prays that the Christians in the ancient city of Philippi will increase their love “in knowledge and depth of insight.”  

We need to know what love is, and what love is not (knowledge). We also need an accurate and deep understanding of how best to love (insight).  What works for one person may not work for another one. You need “discernment.”  

If you have read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, you will know that the point here is not just about knowing your own love language, but how you may relate to others using “their” language.  

So, here is the point: it’s not about you. It’s about those you are trying to love. Can you speak their language so that they will know that you truly care?


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