If you are a follower of Jesus, you have likely been taught that you are called to join God in helping the hurting and seeing the lost come to know Him. You’ve probably heard sermon after sermon about how you need to be going out into the world and accomplishing the Great Commission. Telling everyone you know about Jesus.
Now don’t get me wrong…of course, I believe we are called to go and make disciples of all nations, to proclaim the name of Jesus, and to partner with Him to see the oppressed set free and the broken made whole. This is the greatest calling of our lives!
But here’s what can happen…
We can so easily elevate “the call” over the people. We can get so excited about Jesus or about freedom that we end up running around trying to “fix” everybody we meet.
But this is vitally important for us to remember if we want to love well: PEOPLE ARE NOT PROJECTS.
Person Above Calling
Have you ever felt like an object to another person? They don’t truly know you or care about you; they simply need you in order to accomplish their own purposes or goals. It doesn’t feel great.
And one might assume that treating people like objects would never happen in the Body of Christ, right? Where we’re called to be known for our genuine love for one another? Surely that only happens “out in the world.”
How I wish that were true.
But when followers of Christ fall in love with their calling above all else, they will inevitably turn people into objects – “projects to be accomplished” or “missions to be achieved.” They will disconnect from the Father’s heart and end up prioritizing their own sense of achievement over genuine love and care for others.
If you’ve done this, it doesn’t mean you’re a horrible person. It probably came from good intentions and a genuine passion for the call of God.
But let me tell you…people eventually figure out if you simply see them as a project. If they begin to sense that they are just another potential tick mark on your list of people you’ve helped or “saved,” there will be a significant loss of trust.
There is nothing more powerful or life-transforming that you can do for another person than to love them with genuine care. Your “efforts” to see them saved or healed or set free will be profoundly affected by their experience (or lack thereof) of your genuine love and care for them.
How to Avoid Turning People Into Projects
So how do you prevent yourself from turning a person into a project? I have two suggestions:
- Slow down and establish a relationship with them. Spend time with them. Learn about their life. Enter into their story. Focus on who they are, not on fixing all of their problems. When you develop a genuine friendship with another person, it’s very difficult to turn them into a project.
- Release your own “plans” for their life/journey. Be aware of when your personal agenda starts to try and take over an interaction or relationship. The minute you start getting frustrated or upset that they aren’t “progressing” in the way you had hoped, take a step back and ask the Lord to reorient your heart.
When someone is a PROJECT, you end up not leaving them free-will choice. You end up trying to drag them into something they may not be interested in or may not be ready for. And friends, that experience has never transformed a person’s life.
When someone is a PERSON, it becomes about them and their unique, personal journey. That’s where trust gets built, and your voice begins to build some influence. When someone feels genuinely loved for who they are, it will change their life. And isn’t that what “the call” is all about?
If you want to explore this topic further, click here to learn more about our MPower Workshops and register for our upcoming virtual MPower May 13-14!
Mercy Multiplied exists to provide opportunities for all to experience God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, and life-transforming power. We offer multiple programs and resources online and onsite designed to equip people to live free and stay free in Christ. For more information about the services we offer, click here.