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Loving Objectively

Ever notice how common it is for a rider to click with one horse, or type of horse, and not appreciate or get along with another? People who like athletic, sensitive and reactive/responsive horses are frequently drawn to Arabians. Those who desire a more heavily muscled animal might gravitate toward Quarter Horses. There are people who love to drive a fast, hot horse. . .and those who prefer the stronger and more phlegmatic draft type for driving. As with human characteristics, the number and combination of equine traits is nearly impossible to calculate. All we usually know is that we ‘like this horse,’ and ‘wouldn’t want to own’ that one.
There is surprising degree of diversity among the horses owned among my circle of friends, though most of us ride gaited horses of one kind or another.  One gal always ends up with black horses with independent natures. Another, who has some physical limitations, prefers animals with a lot of extra spark and energy (though she would deny this, it is nonetheless the type of horse she invariably chooses). Some like horses with complex natures, while others prefer a simple, straightforward animal. One gal I know always chooses to ride a strong willed bully.
 
 Though we might not all love every individual horse that comes along, we nonetheless accept that each person in the group is a genuine horse lover. It’s not required that we wax poetic over every type of horse in order to be acknowledged as a serious equestrian. While most of us certainly do love horses in general, it’s perfectly acceptable to choose to ride and work with animals best suited to our individual tastes and skills.
 
 We sometimes fail to give the same latitude in regard to relating with people. As believers, we take the command to ‘love one another’ as a dictate to happily spend time in the company of every kind of person, regardless of our ability to get along with certain personalities. When someone offends or challenges us, we beat ourselves up for not being loving enough. . .when in fact the most loving thing we can do for those who seriously test our patience might be to simply give them a wider berth in order to avoid being offended, and in turn committing sin or offense against them.  If someone grates on our nerves, there’s a good chance that the feeling is mutual! Unacknowledged personality conflicts too often result in gossiping, backbiting, passive aggressive behavior, and other un-Christlike conduct. We might better spend time fostering relationships that bring out the best in ourselves and others.
 
 If we’re to believe Scripture, even Jesus preferred the company of His inner circle of friends, and offered the disciples varying degrees of intimacy. Did He love them all? Surely – but He knew the wisdom of expressing His love appropriately to each person.  I have no doubt that in some cases – Judas Iscariot, for example – He might well have loved from an objective distance!
 

  • Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. John 11:5-6 
  • A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Prov. 18:24
  • The righteous should choose his friends carefully. . .Prov. 12:26a
  • And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works. Heb. 10:24

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