The answer has to be, “Of course, not. I don’t really know you at all.”
But how many people say “I love you” to each other because that is what they think they should do as Believers? Frankly, I don’t do it, and I don’t appreciate it.
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I also don’t appreciate being called “Brother” by people I barely know, such as (for instance) Facebook friends who are friends only because we share the same discussion groups or like each other’s postings. I have two sisters and no brothers, and a name my parents gave me that everyone calls me. They call me Steve or Steven, but no one calls me Stevie (the last person to call me that is recovering well and has recently been moved out of the ICU.)
I am a brother to the other members of the body of the Messiah, but that is a spiritual connotation. I find too many people throw around the terms “brother”, “sister”, and say “I love you” like it is a hot potato.
To me, love is a very serious thing and not to be taken lightly. It carries with it more than affectionate feelings for another: love demands obligations and responsibilities to each another, and strangers saying it to each other is something that is not only a misuse of the feeling but is, in fact, a lie. It is over-spiritualizing a relationship, and (I will probably offend someone now) I think it is done by those who want to show how “spiritual” they are. If you want to show me how spiritual you are, then do spiritual things, do good works, and stop thinking that calling me “brother” or telling me that you love me is proof that you are a godly person.
Too often people over-spiritualize things. You know who I mean (and if it is you, I am sorry if you feel offended): they always speak in biblical terms, they only talk about God and his wonders and how they love him, and they always answer your questions or address your problems with a biblical quote, as if that will magically fix things. Hey! I know the Bible as well, if not better, than many, and if I am still struggling with something, quoting Proverbs or what Shaul wrote to a congregation of Gentile Believers isn’t going to be of any real use to me. I already know it…what I need is a real-life way to apply it told to me in plain language that I can understand.
People struggling within the world need a real-world solution, or (at least) a spiritual solution that they can understand in real-world terms.
It’s true that those of us who have accepted Yeshua as our Messiah and have the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) dwelling inside us can receive spiritual knowledge and understanding. That is a good thing, but if we can’t interpret it into real-world understanding, then that knowledge is useless to the ones who really need it, meaning those without the Ruach HaKodesh.
It is like what Shaul wrote when he wrote about Glossolalia (speaking in tongues) in 1Corinthians 14. What he said, essentially, was that when someone is speaking in tongues, it is spiritual communication between that person and God, but if no one else is around to interpret it the person should remain silent. The message received is useless to edify or help others if it cannot be interpreted into plain, everyday English (or Hebrew or Greek, as the case may have been back then.)
Birds can see light waves that humans cannot; dogs and cats can hear soundwaves that humans cannot; people speaking a language can’t be understood by others unless they also speak that language. When we accept Yeshua as our Messiah and have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we are no longer of this world, but we are still in it!
We are to be a light to the world by spreading the Good News of the Messiah and how he makes it possible for us to enter the Kingdom of God: but, if we operate in a light wave that no one can see, or if we speak only in spiritual soundwaves that a non-Believer can’t hear, what good are we? The message we want to deliver will not be understood and we will have failed to help that person find salvation.
When someone hugs me without my permission or tells me that they love me or calls me brother, and we are really nothing more than acquaintances or friends, I feel uncomfortable. I know many others that feel that way, both Believers and non-Believers. Those who are Believers won’t be offended if you call them by name, and (in my opinion) it is better for you to address them as you would anyone else instead of acting and speaking “spiritually.”
If anyone is still willing to talk to me after this message, then please respect my wishes and don’t call me “brother” (except for my sisters Wendy and Gayle, of course) and don’t tell me you love me when it is just in a spiritual sense.
I believe the love we share together is not really for each other, but for God.
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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!