The thoughts of a woman trying to live simply yet abundantly, contentedly yet expectantly, wisely yet adventurously... all for His glory.


I want you to stop loving on people.

Yep. I said it.

I think Christians need to stop using the phrase "love on."

I totally understand that many Christians think "loving on" people is a good thing, especially on missions trips... for example "we're just so excited to be able to go and love on orphans in Africa." I get that and I respect the heart behind it.

It's just that somehow we've decided that it sounds much more spiritual to "love on people" than to simply "love people." 

My problem is this: "loving on" someone is doing something to them rather than with them and that sounds more like a project than a relationship. 

If you tell me that you are going to walk on me, sit on me, or cry on me-- well, you can imagine that I might not feel those are very nice things. I might also wonder why you seem to have rather a lot of choice in what happens to me while I have very little say in the matter.

However, if you tell me that you would like to walk with me, sit with me, or cry with me, I would emphatically say yes please! Please walk with me through this mess called life. Sit with me as I wrestle with questions. Cry with me when I grieve.

Out of many names for God my personal favorite is Immanuel or God with us. Jesus took human form and walked with us, went fishing with us, and came over for dinner and a glass of wine. God chose to enter into relationship with us rather than imposing His will on us. Being made in His image we too are called to enter into relationship with and love each other. 

You may think it's just a phrase and it's no big deal, and you may be right. I imagine that you're the kind of person who wants to love people well and not turn them into projects. But at least in the context of missions or service projects I think we ought to be very careful what we do to people and focus more on how to love people in a way that promotes their dignity and worth as image-bearing children of God. And if nothing else, let's use language that makes sense to those who don't speak Christianese. 

With love and in love,

Children I met in Danja, Niger


Anonymous said...

filosofy of words. you are right, thank you for making us alert.

Anonymous said...

I also feel like this phrase is such "Christian pop culture" jargon, which is sad in the church because it can undermine the purity of simply serving and loving others because you are filled with the love of God.