If you love everyone equally, you love everyone poorly.
I know it sounds ridiculous. I mean, didn’t Jesus say that we were to love everyone? Is it wrong to love some people and not love others? Yes, that is wrong. As Christians, we are called to love everyone. Personal hatred is not supposed to be an option for those following Jesus. So how can the opening statement be true?
There are three components of the love that we are to have for other people: attitude, actions, and time. The love that we are to have for ALL people includes both attitude and actions. We are to value everyone and to commit to see the best in them. When it is needed, we are to help them, and love them with our actions. We are to extend this sort of love to everyone whose path we cross in life.
The third component of love is different. It’s impossible to give everyone we know or meet equal time. You only have 24 hours in a day, and you likely sleep 6-8 of those. The limitations of time are fixed and immovable. That means that you cannot give your time indiscriminately to everyone. If you try, everyone will get a little time, and no one will receive any depth. If we love everyone the same with our time, we will love everyone poorly. So, what do we do?
Accept Your Limitations
You can’t relate to everyone, and if you spread your time too thinly across too many people, your relationships will be stunted and shallow. Own the fact that you have limitations. Once you accept this fact you will be ready to make the wise choices needed for the next step…
Choose Who You Will Invest In
Once you’ve accepted that you can’t invest in everyone equally, you need to choose who you will invest your life in. Who will get the majority of your time? Who will get the best parts of your energy and attention? Does your family get your best, or the leftovers that remain at the end of the day? Which friends get your honesty, and which get small talk?
Consistency Pays Off
Relationships don’t simply need time, they need consistent time. Bits of time strung consistently over weeks, months, and years make relationships strong. Strong relationships make strong people. It’s not enough to spend all of your time at work or with your hobby and then plan a couple of vacations a year with your family. It will take a few days for them just to get used to being around you again, and by the time everyone is ready to relate, it’s time to go home. Consistent time doesn’t have to revolve around epic activities. In fact, it’s those few extra minutes around the dining room table or on the couch before bed that can make all the difference.
You can’t love everyone equally, but you can love a few very well. Commit to being honest with yourself and budget your time wisely. If you do, your relationships will become healthier and more enjoyable.
Photo Courtesy of Death To Stock Photo