Read Acts 14:21-23
21 After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, 22 where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. 23 Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. (NLT)
God calls on us to love others. And it is natural our love is felt most deeply with those close to us as family or friends. Yet problems can arise when we allow this love to turn into control. In our desire to help others, our desire to ease their pain or keep them on the right path, we can try to manage their lives and take responsibility for their lives.
We plunge into problem-solving mode, trying to fix them up. And in doing so, we usurp God’s own role in their lives. Loving people does not mean constantly rescuing them or solving their problems for them. Love will often involve handing them over to God’s care: after all, he is better at it than we are.
This does not mean non-involvement. There are times when intervention is proper. There is a time for counsel and even rebuke. Paul and Barnabas, in entrusting leaders to God, would have taught and nurtured those leaders. But they recognised that they could only do so much.
One of the great challenges of love is to know when to speak and when to be silent, when to act and when to merely watch. Pray to God that each of us may accept the tension of attachment and detachment, letting go and holding close.