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Loving Others is Hard

Relationships are very rewarding.  Consider all of the ways that you are connected to other people.  Some are very close ties with family and those we consider our “best friends”.  Others are good, but we may not be socially attached to our doctor, physical trainer, or barber.  Church relationships are strong if we are involved in small groups, ministry groups, choir, or other activities.

The relationships we have with our immediate family and closest friends are highly rewarding, but they can also be very stressful and heart-breaking.  When someone in that network intertwined with our heart has a tragedy, serious and sudden illness, job loss, or a major life disruption, we are deeply hurt as if it happened to us personally.  The first response we have is to let them know we want to do what we can to alleviate their pain and suffering.  We stand with them, pray for them, shed tears as they weep, and do small tasks to seek to provide comfort. God put that “love for others” within us.  Amazingly, the need to care for another is not limited to a human heart. We want to help others and feel deeply responsible to do so.

Responsibility for others is one of the chief causes of tension in executives. To prove this idea, an experiment was conducted some time ago with two monkeys. Scientists devised a method of giving one of the monkeys “executive” training under carefully controlled laboratory conditions.

The monkey chosen for executive training was strapped in a chair with his feet on a plate capable of giving him a minor electric shock. Then they put a light over the desk and turned the light on 20 seconds before each shock. A lever was placed by the monkey’s chair. If he pulled the lever after the light came on, the light would go out and there would be no shock. The executive monkey learned to avoid the shock very quickly.

The scientists then placed another monkey across the room with the same setup, except that the second monkey’s lever didn’t work. However, the monkeys soon learned that the first monkey’s lever would work for both, turning off the second monkey’s light and protecting him from shock as well. This made the first monkey an executive, since he was now responsible for preventing shock for the second one.

The first monkey was intelligent. He quickly took over, protecting both himself and his colleague from shock, responding to both lights or either light without difficulty.

There was no outward change in either monkey as the experiment continued, but after a while the executive monkey, responding to the stress of responsibility for another, developed stomach ulcers. The second monkey’s health remained unchanged.  (Copied).

Romans 15:1-2 – Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.  Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.

Galatians 5:14 – For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”