Love is the answer.

Principal 1: Love is to seek what is best for your neighbor.
Go back to the story Jesus tells of the “good Samaritan” (see “Who is my neighbor?” post). The Samaritan took care of the beaten man’s woundss and provided for his recovery. It is obvious that this is what the beaten man needed, and the Samaritan loved this hurting stranger as he loved himself.

Principal 2: Love is sometimes hard.

In the historical account of Luke 18:18-27, a young wealthy aristocrat comes to Jesus and asks what he must do to have eternal life. Jesus knew the young man had money as his god; so Jesus told him to sell everything he had and give it to the poor. The young man went away sad. We need to understand that Jesus had great love for this young man and was seeking what was best for him. Unfortunately, the young man refused to be helped because he loved money more than God. It would have been much easier for Jesus to tell the young man that he was okay just like he was and that nothing in his life needed to change. It would have been easy, but it wouldn’t have been loving.

Principal 3: Love cannot be forced on someone. (note exceptions)
We can lovingly invite a person to receive our help, but they must accept it of their own will. Just like hearing about the rich aristocrat, it can be a frustrating thing to watch someone make bad decisions while refusing legitimate offers of what is best. We can pray; we can invite; we can exhort; we can encourage, but we cannot force love.

(Exceptions: children, the mentally impared, those under the influence of drugs. It would not be loving to let any of these walk into heavy traffic because they wanted to. We would lovingly force them to stay on the sidewalk.)

Encouraging word, Philippians 1:9, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight” (NIV).