I read in Dear Abby this morning how a teenage girl felt she didn’t fit in, and asked Abby for a booklet she wrote about how to be liked by others. I remember that Andrew Carnegie, the great Steel King, wrote a book about how to win friends and influence people. In fact, there are many self-help books, and people on the lecture circuit, telling those who feel they are unappreciated, feeling that no one likes them, or generally feeling unloved how to find the love they are missing.
People want to be liked. We are a social animal, traveling in packs, seeking others who are like we are. Yet, the divorce rate is almost as high as the marriage rate, children are killing children, and the news is full of nothing but murder, rape, and deceit.
Why? Well, yes- it’s a cursed world (follow my ministry blog and you will hear me say that a lot!) and we are all sinful sinners (also heard from me often), so it all makes sense, doesn’t it? That we should have so much tsouris in the world, right?
Yes. That’s right. But it isn’t just because there are so many people who feel unloved. The real problem is not about our feeling unloved or disliked, it’s that we are looking to the wrong source of love. Like the song says, we are looking for love in all the wrong places and looking for love from all the wrong faces. The Manual tells us what to do: we should be looking to the one, true source of the only love that counts, the only love that lasts, and the only love that is truly trustworthy, and that is God’s love for us. His love is absolute and faithful; His love is what keeps us going; His love is going to shape us and strengthen us to overcome the evils in the world; His love is what saves us from destruction on an Eternal level.
His love is perfect, and the only love we don’t need to look for because He has it for every, single person that has ever been born, is living today, and will be born in this world until the end of time as we know it.
WOW! What a statement! You won’t find any human love that can match that.
Now, with that being said, don’t think that I am saying we don’t need the love of each other, or that it is not necessary or correct to seek out human love. It is absolutely necessary and normal; in fact, God commands us to love each other. If you feel unloved, Abby and Andy and most everyone else has the correct cure for that- to be loved, you need to love. That’s really all there is to it- love isn’t something we are entitled to. It’s not owed to you. Love is not something that you deserve to be given, it is something that must be returned. Think of it as an emotional rebate- you give enough of it and you will get some back.
That’s another thing about love that we all need to understand- it isn’t an “Even Steven” sort of thing. You should give love without expecting anything back. Unrequited love is the stuff sad stories are made of, the “Love Triangle” where everyone loves someone, but no one is loved by the one they want to be loved by. It is historically the meat of romance writers, a never-ending human tragedy, but not to me. What I get from God’s word is that we should love others as ourselves, not that we should love others to be loved. It is, to me, something I should give without expecting or demanding back. It is like when Yeshua says if someone wants your cloak, give them your shirt, as well. And if someone asks you to carry their pack for a mile, carry it for two. And if someone asks you to lend them something they need, give it to them, instead.
Humans do things altruistically, with the selfish intent of getting it back. It’s all about “Now you owe me one” instead of what God wants us to do, which is to give freely (the Manual tells us that God loves a cheerful giver.) God provides us blessings so that we can share them with others.
“Whoa! Hold up a minute here…if God can bless me, why do I have to share it? Why can’t God bless the ones that need it?” I have an answer for that- it’s to allow you to be able to do God’s work. It’s all about giving us a chance to be more like Him. The more God blesses us with finances or talents, the more we should share those gifts with others, which is exactly what God did for us. We are constantly told throughout the Tanakh that we are to be holy, for He is holy. One way we can do that is to share the blessings we have with those that do not have as many blessings. Yeshua said we will always have the poor- perhaps that’s so that we who have more can be able to share it with those that have less. Perhaps the poor are here for our benefit- to allow us to glorify God by sharing what He has provided to us with others. Think about that.
I tell my wife, who I love with all my heart and who makes my life complete, that she is the most important thing in the world to me, but second to God overall. God is not of the world, and He, alone, is the most important thing there is. I also add that finishing a close second to the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Creator of the Universe and Lord God Almighty, is not too bad a place to be.
When you give a gift at a party or wedding, don’t expect one back. If you ask people to come to your party or house, or any event you host, don’t do so expecting they will invite you to their next affair. And if you have anything that you consider to be valuable, share it. If it’s of importance to you, it should be shared, joyfully and without expectation of recompense, so that you can allow God’s gifts to you to be a blessing to others. That’s what it is all about- giving without expecting back. That is what God gave to us- He took off the robes of Majesty and wrapped Himself in rags of humanity, He suffered ills and sicknesses (see Isaiah) and allowed Himself to be ridiculed, beaten, nailed to a tree and to die a slow, painful death. Why? To get an award? To be honored at a banquet? Of course not! He did it because He loves us and wanted to give us what He has- Eternal life and joy. And He did that knowing that most everyone alive, then and for all time, would reject Him and hate Him. Yeshua said there is no greater love than that one gives his life for a friend. You probably won’t have to go that far during your lifetime, and in comparison, to give food, money, help, clothing, or even just compassion…whatever someone needs to make them feel loved and appreciated… is not so much, is it? Besides, that is what we are commanded to do.
You want to be liked? You want to be loved? Good- there’s nothing wrong with that. Just make sure you go about it the right way, which is to love others, to treat them as you want to be treated, and to do so without ever wanting or expecting anything back. Give in secret, help without bringing attention to yourself; your Father in heaven will see, and you will be greatly loved.
The answer to the question, “Where’s the love?” is that it’s with God, and he placed it inside you. You got it from God when you were still in the womb, and He wants you to give it to everyone else, happily, without expectation. When you give love, you will get love.