Lately, I’ve been thinking about how we tend to dehumanize and depersonalize following Jesus. What do I mean? I mean that we are find with loving everyone, but he often have trouble loving that specific person. But, we must understand that failing to love that specific person IS failing at love.
In the same way, we often consider our work – our service, perhaps – to the masses, but fail at working with or serving a specific person. For example, perhaps we can teach a class or a congregation, but can we teach that THAT person? You know the person that I’m talking about… the person who really needs to learn… and from whom you need to learn.
As long as we can fuzzify (I like that word) our focus on “everyone” and never one that specific person, then we can think that we’re doing something. But, that person that is hard to love, hard to deal with, hard to serve, hard to talk to… THAT person may be the very one that God is leading you to interact with. But, as long as we keep our focus on the fuzzy “everyone,” then we may miss THAT person that God is leading us to.
I remember having a discussion recently with someone about discipling others. The person told me about the classes he taught and the material he used and the times he studied. But, when I asked him a specific example of how he was helping a specific person follow Jesus, he did not have an answer. Now, perhaps this was simply not a question he was ready to answer. But, it could also be that his focus was on the fuzzy “everyone,” and he was missing the actual people involved, the individuals who need individual help to follow Jesus. He was not discipling people; he was discipling some amorphous, dehumanized, depersonalized mass.
So, whether we are focusing on any people that God brings into our lives, or focusing on a specific person that we may find hard to love, teach, serve, etc… we must remember that in Christ our focus is people… individuals… not a faceless crowd or an amorphous, dehumanized mass.
Yes, we love everyone; but loving everyone starts with THAT person… and those specific individuals