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Love People, Not Their Idols
It’s easy to confuse loving a person with loving a person’s idols.
We typically make this mistake when someone loses something or wants something.
This happens all the time in Christian circles.
Your friend Joe loses his job and immediately everyone prays for Joe to get a new job. This is a good thing to pray for, ultimately Joe does need a job. But, Joe is a man who finds all of his identity from his work. Joe is a guy who has put his job at the center of his life instead of God. Joe’s ultimate need isn’t a new job to fill the void in his life, it’s for his life to begin to orbit around Jesus.
A better way to love Joe would be to address what he really needs, to see this job-less season as an opportunity for him to mature in Christ–to find his identity in the gospel, not in his work. A season for idolatry to shrink in his life and for true worship to grow.
I believe that you can’t love a person well unless you know their idolatry well. Pay attention to what people lose and what people want. Sometimes it’s healthy to immediately seek to replace one’s loss and fulfill one’s wants, but oftentimes when we support, pray for, and seek these things we’re not really loving someone, we’re simply feeding their idolatry.
Beware of polishing people’s idols.