This is a tough one.
I have been in friendships that have had unrealistic expectations placed on me, and I’ve placed unrealistic expectations on friends.
I’ve been in churches big and small that have had unrealistic expectations placed on me, and I’ve had unrealistic expectations that I’ve placed on leaders at churches and church structures.
Oh in my mind, my expectations were very realistic…as I’m sure that’s what others would say from their perspective as well.
We all expect that if we do something for someone, then we deserve to be treated the same way if not equal, then more so. The problem with that formula is that it breeds disappointment. If our friend doesn’t meet our expectations or that church leader or church structure, then we feel hurt and unimportant. We feel discarded and so we start over again seeking out a new friend and a new church that will meet all of our expectations. Like I said, I’ve been on both ends of this cycle and have learned that these expectations are one of the traps that the enemy, the Devil, loves to use to cause us as a people pain.
In Luke 6:32-36 Jesus is speaking about this very subject. In verse 35 he says, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”
Jesus himself is letting us in on something that is key to stability in our lives. Not only are we to love our enemies, but we are to lend to them without expectation. Even though Jesus is speaking of our enemies, you could easily substitute the word “friend, church, church leader, neighbor, co-worker” anyone really. Our enemy is so much harder to love, so start with the people who aren’t your enemy, because that’s super easy…right? –I think you get the point.
When we lend to others without expecting to get anything back, what does that really mean?
-lending my “things”
-lending my time
-lending my money
-lending my emotions (caring for others)
When we do these things, Jesus says that we will be rewarded greatly! (Glance back at verse 35) One of those rewards is freedom. When we don’t place expectations on others to return what we’ve done for them, the enemy cannot bring disappointment and THAT is freedom! Another reward is a spiritual reward, that we will be sons/daughters of the Most High. Jesus is saying that when we do these things, we are displaying our spiritual family traits. Our rewards go much further and they are given to us in this lifetime on earth and beyond into eternity.
What other ways can we lend to others without expectation? Let’s challenge ourselves to live a little bit more free this week.
I welcome all comments posted here or on my Facebook page Tasha Johnson, Author, Path of the Blessing