If you treat people like projects for you to improve, then when they don’t want to participate in that project you will inevitably treat them as a waste of time or you will feel threatened by them–because all you are seeing in them is something that needs fixing.
But the Bible instead calls us simply to love our neighbor as ourselves. This changes the motive to intervene. Our interest in people’s growth becomes selfless because it is based on love, instead of a “need to fix” them. It changes how we intervene.
It means ‘I want to help them, but I love them even without improvement, and I love them even if the pace of improvement is considerably slower or different from what “I” wanted.’
That is giving up control. It re-humanizes people so that we treat them like people and not just ‘projects.’
“There was no regular organization, no constitution, no officers, no laws or agreement or rule except the ‘Golden Rule,’ and every man did what seemed right in his own eyes.” -Isaac Beck, an underground stationmaster in southern Ohio
“We may give our human loves the unconditional allegiance which we owe only to God. Then they become gods: then they become demons. Then they will destroy us, and also destroy themselves. For natural loves that are allowed to become gods do not remain loves. They are still called so, but can become in fact complicated forms of hatred.” -C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
“St John’s saying that God is love has long been balanced in my mind against the remark of a modern author (M. Denis de Rougemont) that ‘love ceases to be a demon only when he ceases to be a god’; which of course can be re-stated in the form ‘begins to be a demon the moment he begins to be a god’. This balance seems to me an indispensable safeguard. If we ignore it the truth that God is love may slyly come to mean for us the converse, that love is God.” -C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
“Divine Love is Gift-love. The Father gives all He is and has to the Son. The Son gives Himself back to the Father, and gives Himself to the world, and for the world to the Father, and thus gives the world (in Himself) back to the Father too.” -C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
“The story of redemption is, in its purest form, a love story, but it’s a love story unlike anything you could ever imagine.” -Elyse Fitzpatrick, Comforts from the Cross
“What was he to his enemies! Did he call for fire from heaven when they wronged him? Was he all on a heat? When his poor disciples, being more flesh than spirit, would have fire from heaven, ‘You know not what spirit you are of,’ saith he, Luke ix. 55. He shed tears for those that shed his blood, ‘Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem,’ &c., Mat. xxiii. 37, that afterward crucified him. And upon the cross you see there to his very enemies, ‘Father, forgive them, they know not what they do,’ Luke xxiii. 34. So then if we will be like to Christ, consider how he carried himself to God in devotion and obedience, and how in himself he was full of purity and holiness, unspotted every way; how to his friends, to all that had any goodness in them; and how to his enemies, he prayed for his very enemies.” -Richard Sibbes, Glorious Freedom
“Love is the seed in you of every virtue And of all acts deserving punishment.” -Dante
“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” -Cornel West
“All love is narrowing. It is the renunciation of other possibilities for the sake of one choice. In a 2008 wedding toast to Cass Sunstein and Samantha Power, Leon Wieseltier put it about as well as possible:
Brides and grooms are people who have discovered, by means of love, the local nature of happiness. Love is a revolution in scale, a revision of magnitudes; it is private and it is particular; its object is the specificity of this man and that woman, the distinctness of this spirit and that flesh. Love prefers deep to wide, and here to there; the grasp to the reach…. Love is, or should be, indifferent to history, immune to it—a soft and sturdy haven from it: when the day is done, and the lights are out, and there is only this other heart, this other mind, this other face, to assist in repelling one’s demons or in greeting one’s angels, it does not matter who the president is. When one consents to marry, one consents to be truly known, which is an ominous prospect; and so one bets on love to correct for the ordinariness of the impression, and to call forth the forgiveness that is invariably required by an accurate perception of oneself. Marriages are exposures. We may be heroes to our spouses but we may not be idols.”
David Brooks, The Road to Character