Love Your Neighbor…. As Yourself

By Aaron Couch
Taken from RelationalDiscipleshipNetwork.com

(The following is a post from ‘Pastorizing‘, the blog of Aaron Couch, Lead Coach of Real Life OTP with campuses in Pullman,Washington – and Moscow and Grangeville Idaho. Aaron is also a member of the RDN and a Mentor Coaching Church)

So here is the question I am wrestling with… How does God change us?

Set the theological constructs aside for a minute and consider the question. God and I have amazing conversations. And by amazing conversations, I mean that I talk a lot and He listens. And He reassures me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And He reminds me that I am in His grip. And He gently whispers to me that I am never out of the reach of His mighty arm.

And then, I still act insecure and fearful. I act as if I am alone and betrayed. I act as though I had never acknowledged God’s promises as true to begin with.

Then I come to another amazing conversation. And He reassures me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And He reminds me that I am in His grip… And so on… And His loving kindness always trumps the conversation.

And then a good friend shared something with me one day… How does God change me? His loving kindness.

And I wept.

For all my foolishness and fear, God’s invitation is to love what He put in me as much as He does. And God simply and continually reaffirms the goodness and potential of what He knit into my soul in my mother’s womb.

And this powerful truth changes me somehow. I can rest in what God has made me rather than seeing it as a curse or a problem.

But it raises another question… How am I doing at reflecting that loving kindness to others? And here, it gets real sticky, real quick.

Like many people, I struggle to “listen to others without agenda.” What I mean is, too often I find myself already giving a person direction on how to “fix” their problem before I have even truly heard what the real problem is.

My same friend said it this way – When you listen to truly understand someone, you make money. When you talk, you spend it. That is a bit of a dagger in my heart considering what I do for a living – I teach, I talk, I direct, I lead.

But I want to listen more. I want to fight to truly understand those around me better. And as with my conversations with God, the more I practice this idea, something changes in me.

So here is my tactic… maybe you can try it on and see how it goes. No promise from me about the outcome. I am still on this journey as well. When someone talks to me, all I do is fight for clarity. No agenda, no leading, no “fixing”, no help – just listening to understand. Fighting for clarity.

This isn’t some parroting back exercise either. It is not counseling nor is it a “technique to get people to move.” It is simply trying to act like God acts in my amazing conversations with Him. Listen a lot. Work to truly understand. And invite people to consider the truth of who they are from God’s vantage point.

What I am beginning to uncover – this is like nuclear power in my life, and the lives of those I care enough about to truly fight to understand. The power is not in my ideas, or fixes, or “help.” But the power lies in truly feeling “heard” and understood by another human being. And it ties into something deeper in a person than I have ever experienced. This eternal piece of us that longs to be unleashed and set free. And it unlocks and transforms places in our lives where we would have otherwise felt stuck.

And again, God reaffirms to me that I cannot separate loving Him and loving people.

Try it on and let me know what happens. No fixing, no counseling, just listening for understanding.

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