When You Feel Like Giving Up on Someone
That co-worker you can't seem to get through to, that family member that let you down (again), that friend that only calls you when her life is out of control...do you ever feel like giving up on someone? Do you ever feel like you've given all you have to give in your relationships with certain people?
People let us down. Time and time again, even the most faithful friend or the best parent will disappoint you. Sometimes, it feels like we invest a lot of our time and energy into people that just can't seem to get it together. Yet, in the Gospel, we see that the Lord has called us to love Him and to love others as we love ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). God has called us to the ministry of making relationships and loving the unlovable. So what do we do when we find ourselves tempted to give up on someone? Here are three ways to refresh your perspective and lean into Christ in your relationships:
1. Reflect on the power of the Gospel
"It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all." 1 Timothy 1:15
Think about those words, "Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am the foremost of all." The apostle Paul was a most unlikely convert to the Christian faith. He was a "Hebrew of Hebrews" and a "persecutor of the church" (Philippians 3:5-6). Yet, the power of the Gospel was able to take a persecutor and transform him into a promoter. Is there someone you've been ministering to that seems unlikely to ever place their faith in Christ? Don't give up, the Gospel is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16). God can save and transform anyone.
2. Remember your own journey
"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air..." Ephesians 2:1-2a
Do you remember your life before Christ? Where are you in your walk with Christ today? Do you remember the journey that's brought you to the place you're at now? Part of loving people as the Lord has called us to love is to have patience with one another (Ephesians 4:2). When we remember where we used to be, we can see how far the Lord has brought us and how much He's done to conform us more and more into the image of His son. When you're tempted to give up on someone, remember the marvelous work of the Lord in your own life. Remember His grace and patience with you.
3. Remind yourself of God's ability
"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 1:6
God is at work saving souls and maturing believers into the image of Jesus Christ. He is all-powerful and what He calls us to, He gives us the ability to do. We don't have to rely on ourselves to love others the way the Lord has called us to and we can't. We rest in His ability. Remind yourself that He can do anything. In Him, we have an endless source of love with which to love others. As we walk by the Spirit and not our flesh in our relationships, we will enjoy God's provision and the fruits of the Spirit, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23).
Think about that person you've been tempted to give up on. Pray for them, confess any sin you've been harboring against them, and ask the Lord to give you His strength to love them well. Reflect on the Gospel of Christ, remember all that God has done in you and for you, and remind yourself of His ability. Spend some time reading Galatians 5.