Of course it’s possible to love people too much…most of us do this with regularity. We might love their attention or approval or their affection (sometimes we love the letter A)…maybe we love ourselves too much, a clever phrase or a spectacular achievement. We are crazy: we’ll even hold on to a deep bitterness so we can think, “I am better for suffering, when others don’t.”
It is a sad and subtle thing when we love people too much in the name of Jesus. When we crave influence more than connecting with God, we are on a dangerous path to a powerless and empty life. It’s so easy to cut corners, to slack off a bit on the unseen things we do to devote ourselves to God. I came across this in my readings the other day and I thought I’d pass it along:
No man appears in safety before the public eye unless he first relishes obscurity. No man is safe in speaking unless he loves to be silent. No man rules safely unless he is willing to be ruled. No man commands safely unless he has learned well how to obey. No man rejoices safely unless he has within him the testimony of a good conscience….It is better for a man to be obscure and to attend to his salvation than to neglect it and work miracles. It is praiseworthy for a religious seldom to go abroad, to flee the sight of men and have no wish to see them.
How about you: is the attention of others too important for you?