- Are you loving people and using things or are you using people and loving things?
- Are you letting people use you as they pursue control, power, and self-gratification?
- Are you using control and manipulation to “get what you want” from the people in your life?
These three questions are a great indicator of the motive in your heart, the value you place on other people, and your self-worth. When you use someone, or you are allowing someone to use you, you do not know God’s design of love. His greatest commandments are both about love. We are to “love Him and love others as we love ourselves.” Matthew 22:37-39 NIV
What Does God Say?
God tells us in the Bible that people are “created in their image,” and therefore above things. However, we are not born knowing and understanding God’s love and value for people. The life experiences we grow up with influence what we come to accept as “normal” concerning the value and treatment of people versus things.
When our “normal” is unhealthy and promotes using people to get what you want, you become a disrespectful user and often an abuser of people. Likewise, women who grow up in this unhealthy environment come to believe is it “normal” and expected for them to be used and live their life as a victim if they are to be loved.
I know this reality because I was deceived into believing I had to let the people who “claimed” to love me, say mean things and hurt me. My proof of loving them was to forgive them, forget what happened, trust them, and allow them to do it again. My mindset may sound crazy to many of you. However, when this is what you know as “normal,” you do it until you learn it is not good.
Learning to See People Through Christ
When your mindset and actions originate from what you know, you are unaware of the love and value Christ places EQUALLY on ALL people. Your mindset becomes more confused if you do not know the WHOLE truth of God’s word for yourself and trust the partial scriptures people share with you.
You see I have known Jesus since I was seven and attended church most of my life. I blindly trusted what a pastor said without question because they are the “pastor.” However, during my thirteen-year abusive marriage, I heard many pastors misuse portions of scripture concerning the treatment of women in marriage. The Holy Spirit began to spark my hunger to see what God’s word said for myself.
I bought a study Bible and looked up scriptures on love, marriage, and how Christ treated ALL people. I found out that we are to love and help others. Only by studying God’s word for myself have I come to understand it is NEVER God’s will for people to use and abuse people nor to let yourself be abused. God calls us to love one another AS we love ourselves.
The truth in God’s word helped me understand that it was not His will for me to stay with my abusive Christian husband and I fled. There are so many ways we can be deceived into believing it is okay to use people or to let others use us which are all schemes of the devil to destroy us. However, there is only one way, truth, and life that can set us free now and for eternity, and it is Jesus Christ.
Taking Control of Your Future
If you have realized that you are not loving people over things you desire, or you are letting others use you, do not allow the devil to make you feel condemned, guilty, or ashamed. Your awareness that something goes against Christ’s character as a Christian comes from the Holy Spirit. Whenever you discover something about yourself, rejoice! With every revelation comes an opportunity for you to learn and choose how you will do things in the future. The past is the past, and you cannot change it. Your future is up to you.
It’s time to take an inventory of your heart and look at your relationships and see who you keep letting hurt you, or who you keep hurting?
Will you love people and use things, or will you use people and love things? If you use people or let them use you, what will it cost you spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, and in your relationships?
“Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves.” Ralph Waldo Emerson