Don’t Judge, Just Love
“We love because he first loved us”
1 John 4:19 (NIV)
A Dad was telling me his frustration with his 17 year old son. The boy had no ambition, skipped school, had few friends and played video games all day. But Dad had also discovered 1 John 4:19 (above). Amazing things can happen to people when they know someone cares.
It was the care of my history teacher that changed me. When my life fell apart at age 11, he pushed me to excel in athletics, took me to task if I slacked off, and he praised me far more than I deserved when I did well. I held steady during the worst year of my life because of him.
I wish I’d remembered that when a teenager stepped in front of my car a while back. He walked across the road so slowly I had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting him. He didn’t look up or even glare at me. I nearly yelled at him, but I’d just read a book about teenagers whose lives had taken a huge turn for the better when teachers and parents stopped yelling at them and started caring for them instead. The evidence in the book was overwhelming that simply taking an interest in a teenager can start an amazing ball rolling. Looking back, then, I wish I’d asked the boy, “Are you OK?” because a small expression of concern may have had a huge impact on him.
When the Apostle Paul said in Romans 13:8 (RSV), “Owe no one anything, except to love one another…”, it makes life very simple. Don’t judge, just love. Don’t despair when your 17 year old has no ambition, just love. Don’t yell at the sullen, unresponsive teenager who doesn’t notice you exist, just love. Love may include being tough at times, yes, but the love is also obvious. That was my history teacher—he was tough but he never judged, and I haven’t forgotten him.
Thank you, Father, for the wonderful secret of what creates and builds relationships, and the ability to be able to actually see it work.
Study by Jonathan Buck
About the Author:
Jonathan Buck is an Elder and pastors four Grace Communion International congregations in Canada. He and his wife, Berry, pastored in the UK before moving to Canada a number of years ago. When they are visiting family in England they attend Grace Communion in Lewes.
Grace Communion – Lewes
The Priory School
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