A Prayer for Pretenders
By Meg Bucher
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.” - Romans 12:9 NLT
Oh, here they come. Some people are just draining …we'll say.
We’re all guilty of it. We cringe and scramble to appear busy, on the move, or in a conversation before we are cornered into a long conversation. There are people we actually avoid. It’s the shocking truth. In a world where we have been set down to serve others, we actually don’t want to or like to, sometimes, depending on the person and what we have going on in our own lives at the moment.
The English Dictionary definition of pretend is “to cause or attempt to cause (what is not so) to seem so.” Pretending runs right alongside avoidance. I bet it makes Christ cringe, the boundaries we put up around hurting people who border our lives. I’m just as guilty. Some days are such an emotional struggle, I don’t understand where the capacity to reach out and do anything for anyone else is going to come from. Or, classically, I’ll find myself overwhelmed with my schedule and proclaim, “I have too many yes’s in my life!” As if helping too many people is too pressing of an agenda. Oh, how the Lord must absolutely roll His eyes at me.
“Most of us have learned how to be courteous to others—how to speak kindly, avoid hurting people’s feelings, and appear to take an interest in them,” the Life Application Bible notes, “But God has called us to a love that goes far beyond pretense and politeness.” This love looks like inconvenience. It costs us time, money, and effort. It’s more than putting someone on a prayer list. We’re called to care deeply and create disciples. Oof. That takes time. Thankfully, the Author of our minutes has the ability to stretch the capacity to fit an insurmountable amount of love and good.
Stretch our minutes and lengthen our patience, Father. Show us how to genuinely love the people You have placed in our lives, Lord. Let us not be too busy to connect with our neighbors and have lengthy conversations while our ice cream melts in the cart. Father, we do have time for people. Our time is Your time! You are the Author of our days, and You know the number of them! Your plan for our lives includes loving others. There is no greater task or agenda than to really love them.
Show us what it means, Father, to hold tight to what is good. We know we need boundaries in our lives, and we realize we can’t say “yes” to all the things we want to do or that people want us to do. But the plans You have for us, Lord, You make time for. So, help us to understand what we are adding to our days which is not ordained by You, so we are free to take all the time we need to love the people You put in our paths daily.
God, You are Love. You love us so much, You gave Your one and only Son, Christ Jesus, so we would not be bound to the limits of this world. In Christ, Your Holy Spirit lives in us, directing us daily to whoever needs us to extend Your love to them each day.
Heighten our sense of the Holy Spirit and sharpen our immediate obedience to follow His lead on our lives. Bless our lives to shine with the light and love of Jesus, Father.
In His mighty name, we pray,
Photo credit: ©SalemDesign/BethanyPyle
Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. Join her on the journey as she launches her new site Joy Overflowing, or join her longstanding community at Sunny&80. She is also the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” and “Glory Up, The Everyday Pursuit of Praise,” and “Home, Finding Our Identity in Christ.” She earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University, but stepped out of the business world to stay home and raise her two daughters …which led her to pursue her writing passion. A contributing writer for Salem Media since 2016, Meg is now thrilled to be a part of the editorial team. Always active in her community and the local church, Meg also leads Bible study and serves as a leader for teen girls.
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Originally published Friday, 15 September 2023.