Image by Thomas Allsop
Image by Thomas Allsop

Love without Agenda

We live in a fallen world filled with broken sinners who are all seeking acceptance. Ultimately, Christ is the only place you will find that acceptance, and because many people seek other things and people to fulfill that longing, they become even more sad and hardened. Thus, we have a society of people who view kindness and respect from others as luxuries instead of meeting the bare necessity. Think about how messed up it is that our society takes kindness as an indicator of interest when we all should be showing kindness to one another and treating others as Jesus would treat them. Instead, we get so wrapped up in ourselves and how we are feeling.

How have we reached the point where we are people walking around with blinders on to block out the people around us, so that we don't have to engage with or open up to them? Besides, as mentioned, a deeply needed understanding of Jesus and His teachings, we project a hardened heart that occurs after it has been crushed. It's a terrible cycle really. Hurt people who are not seeking healing through Jesus, hurt others as a way to not get hurt again. Some people have a difficult time accepting kindness or others caring about them, so they retreat, unsure of the motive and/or what to do with the kindness. Then, the person who was trying to show kindness ends up with a hurt heart, not wanting to be kind anymore and feeling unappreciated and rejected. The rejection leads to skepticism of other people and a building of a wall, cutting off relationship and vulnerability. The cycle continues on.

Out of this skepticism, hardened hearts and walls built sky-high has arisen "cancel culture." We do everything we can to prevent getting hurt. It's easier to stop caring than to put yourself out there with people, not knowing how they will react, their true feelings, or if they will change their minds. Therefore, we cancel and cut off people before they get a chance to do it to us or get too close. It's uncomfortable as heck to let people in and close, allowing them to see the most intimate aspects of you. You may wonder what happens if they don't like the ugly parts or they just end up backing away, leaving you out in the cold. I mean, there are some people who will do that but the true people in your life are not going to leave and are going to be there consistently, even when you're not feeling or being yourself. The wrong people act out of agenda and only off of feeling, but the right people act out of intention and get their source of love from Jesus, the ultimate source that sustains. When you know and remember someone's character, you won't overthink whether they are the right or wrong person in your life.

We are not called to be like the world but are called to be like Jesus . The world is not going to like you, and it's actually a good thing to not fit in. Every single time I've wondered why I never fit in, the Holy Spirit reminds me that the world hated Jesus first (John 15:18). I mean, if the world hated Jesus, the most worthy person to exist, why would you expect any better treatment? You can't take it personally when people don't like you, even when you're doing all the right things and have the best intentions. Some people will not like you no matter what you do, and it has nothing to do with you.

How do you react then to break the cycle of hurt? You love boldly and without agenda. You keep showing up. I think one of the things I learned recently is that I was so busy trying to love people in the way that I want to receive love that I didn't notice that others don't receive love the same way I do. If you truly love someone, you need to love them the way they need love. Not everyone has the same heart or needs as you, so we need to stop setting uncommunicated, unrealistic expectations. We also can't love others with limitations and expecting something in return. Kind of defeats the point. You need to push past yourself, your feelings, and your fear of getting hurt. Loving someone is not about you; it's about doing what's best for them. Love is not self-seeking. My mom told me, "Love people where they are and how they are, especially when you know they are going through something." I know personally that when I'm going through a trial and am not feeling myself, I appreciate those who show up and love me through it . Christ died for us while we were sinners rebelling against God, a totally underserved love (Romans 5:6). We need to be understanding and look past ourselves, seeking God who helps us broken humans to love others in a more sustaining, substantial way. He will sustain us in discipline and long-suffering when we want to give up on people when they fail us or when we want to retreat out of worrying about disappointing someone. Don't give up on people.

Of course, there are those that we have to have boundaries with, and boundaries are not a negative thing. They are healthy and help maintain structures of all types of relationships, preventing toxicity from overtaking our lives. There are different boundaries and different levels of relationship. Some people get a seat at your table, some sit on the couch, and some sit outside. No matter what place someone has in your life, there is always room to go the extra mile and show some kindness (Matthew 5:41). Our goal should always be to let others see Jesus through our conduct and see that it is Christ that makes us so different. You will never regret showing kindness to someone but will regret the moments where you could have done something. Life is hard enough and even the smallest things count. People notice the small details of omissions or acts.

Therefore, have courage to have a soft heart in this world. How many times are you going to do the right thing and get let down? Life is not about us, it's about Jesus. Do not stop doing what is good (2 Thessalonians 3:13, Galatians 6:9). Doing it for Jesus makes it easier when you're caught in your feelings of despair or rejection, God sees you. If hurt people hurt, then love can help someone heal from the hurt, ending the cycle and fostering relationship.

By: Bible and Hot Cocoa (IG: @bibleandhotcocoa)

Jules is the founder of Bible and Hot Cocoa. She is a law student with a passion for standing up for those who cannot speak for themselves, such as unborn babies, and for connecting families through adoption. In any free time, she loves to read (Victorian lit is her favorite), study theology, write, and draw or paint. Jules's favorite book of the Bible would have to be a tie among John, Psalms, and Romans (as of now), and her favorite figure besides Jesus is King David or Paul.

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