You Love Me? Really?

We all know that the Lord loves us. Whether or not we love Him, He loves us. His love is unconditional, it is forever, it is based on who He is and not who we are (thank God for that!), and it will cause Him to judge us fairly with mercy. Which we all need.

It is so much above human love, and so far beyond human understanding; how can any of us, really, associate with what He did when He sent His only son to die for us so that we could be close to Him. Something we could never have achieved on our own, even though it isn’t that hard. After all, Moshe told us that it isn’t so far away we need to send someone to get it for us, or so deep we can’t retrieve it, or so high above us we can’t reach it. It is right there, right in front of us.

But we can’t get hold of it, not a real good hold. So God did for us what we should have done for ourselves, at a great cost. Yeshua stripped His robes of righteousness and took on a mantle of flesh: filthy, dirty and mortal coverings that He wore just as the rest of us. Except despite this, He did not sin in the flesh that causes all the rest of us to sin. He survived unblemished, He showed us how to live, and He properly interpreted God’s word for us (which means Jesus/Yeshua did NOT create a new religion- those that followed after Constantine created a different religion, but Yeshua taught from the Tanakh and taught how to follow the Torah correctly.) Yeshua died so that I could live; so that you could live. It was, and is, a very personal thing.

Do you love the Lord? Most everyone I ever met who is Born Again says “YES!! Emphatically! Totally! Absolutely!”

I love God, too, but I don’t feel it.  I feel love for my wife. I feel love for my children (even though they have rejected me, so in that way I know a little about how God must feel), but I confess I don’t feel love for God- I know I have love for Him. Maybe because He is so wonderful, so far from me (in holiness, but not emotionally or relationship-wise), or maybe just because I am really selfish with using the word “love”, I don’t have the same emotional sense I feel with other humans. I love the Lord, and I am His bride (wow- to say such a thing in today’s world, and so close to election time, is scary) and those who read this most likely know the true meaning of that reference. But I just can’t honestly say I love God and feel it. I want to, I know I do, but I don’t feel it. I do feel unworthy, unresponsive, and undeserving of what He feels for me because I just don’t know how to return it. And I absolutely know that He deserves it.

Maybe my real problem is that I can’t separate the holy love I know for God from the romantic love I feel as a human. How many of you out there love someone because of how they make you feel? You feel whole, completed with the other person, right? My relationship with God has made me feel completed as a Jewish man, I feel that I have (finally) come full circle with God and we are on the same page, so to speak. My relationship is wonderful and fulfilling with the Lord- exactly what He planned when He sent Messiah. And more than anything or anyone else that ever was, God deserves my love. He has earned it because He gave me life, because of His sacrifice for me, through His devotion to me, through all He has done during my meager life that has protected me and kept me from harm, both physical and spiritual. God is worthy of my worship, my devotion, and more than anything, my love. He is worthy and deserving of everyone’s love.

However, I am not. That’s why I am confessing to you that I don’t “buy it” when a stranger, or even someone I worship with regularly and would call a friend or acquaintance, comes to me at the worship and says, “I love you, Brother!” I don’t doubt their sincerity, but I doubt they really love me. Not me. Maybe the spirit of God that they expect I should be housing? I could go along with that. But not me. They don’t know me. They haven’t seen me at my worst. They haven’t  heard the words I use when I am angry and frustrated (for me, those two emotions are so close together they are almost like Siamese Twins.) They haven’t heard my vengeful talk when I am wronged; I don’t take vengeance- that is for the Lord. But, I do plan it out for Him, now and then. They haven’t seen my evil twin, Skippy, at work when he locks me in the basement and takes over for me in real life, going to work and impersonating me. He angers the clients, makes trouble for the co-workers, he even gets my wife angry at him. It takes a lot to get Skippy to leave town; fortunately, he doesn’t get along with the Ruach HaKodesh so the closer I get to God the less often Skippy comes around.

But if you met Skippy, you certainly wouldn’t say to him, “I love you , Brother!” You would probably say something more like, “Oh Brother!”

I don’t tell people whom I don’t really know that I love them. I am not much of a hugger, either. I find it very impolite when someone hugs another person without asking permission. It isn’t their love for me that makes them want to hug me- it is their own desire to feel loved. They physically misuse my body, they assault me, in order to feel that they are loved. And if I should say, “I’m not really a hugger” their response more often than not is, “Well, I am.” and they proceed to violate my space, my body and my rights by hugging me. And if I should complain, guess who’s at fault? That’s right- they blame me for not loving as the Lord loves. They insult God’s love and cheapen what Yeshua did by ( as the psychologists call it) “projecting” their feelings at me instead of reflecting on what I said.

{By the way, to those who know me and those who worship with me, if you are thinking you should keep your distance don’t worry- I do hug people I feel comfortable with, and if you offer and I reply with a hug, it’s OK. If I should stick my hand out, that’s the signal that I am not comfortable enough yet. It’s not a rejection, it’s just caution on my part. Don’t stop asking, and please do not be upset or feel rejected if it isn’t time yet. It will be, eventually.}

You love me? Really? I don’t think so. I don’t think humans have that kind of love. Again, I don’t doubt your sincerity, and I appreciate your attempt  to be more like God, but love for others is worth a lot to me, and I don’t just throw it at the feet of anyone who says they are a child of God. It is like throwing pearls before swine, in my book. I pretty much start of with giving everyone the benefit of the doubt when I first meet them, or start to work with them, and I assume (and expect) they will be professional, dependable and trustworthy. I trust them and am looking forward to working with them, or knowing them as friends, whatever the relationship is supposed to be. It is up to them to give me cause to feel otherwise.

But it’s not like that with love. Love is something that the Bible teaches us we should have for each other. Love thy neighbor as thyself- Leviticus 19:18 (for those who don’t know this, when Yeshua gave us the “Golden Rule” He was quoting from Torah. There is nothing ‘New” in the New Covenant)- is the standard for all of us. Yeshua said the two most important commandments (in this order, by the way) are to love God, and love each other. He told His disciples that the way people will know they are His disciples is if they love each other. There is nothing but love in the life of a true Believer, a real worshipper of God. Shaul tells us, ultimately, no matter how many gifts he has been given, no matter how many talents he has, no matter how hard he works for the Lord, if he has not love, he has nothing.

I guess I am just a step or two above nothing. I have love, but I am selfish with it. I am too ensnared in the world, still, to separate the romantic version of love from the holy love that God feels for us. And, I am sorry to say, I don’t think I am that much different from most everyone else.  I believe that people cannot love the way God loves, but I do honor their attempt. That’s why when someone says they love me, I don’t argue with them. I may thank them, I most likely won’t say anything, and I guarantee I won’t say that I love them, too. I don’t know them that well, I am not that Godly, and I am certainly not that open with my feelings.

I hope you are different. I hope that some of you reading this will pity my weakness, my fleshly curse that prevents me from feeling love the way God does and keeps me chained to the emotional, romantic understanding of love that is a bane, in many ways, of humanity. Pray for me, if you will, and pray for yourself that you are really feeling the intercessory power that comes from truly loving as God does- not romantically, not selfishly, not humanly.

I doubt that I will ever feel that way, at least, not in this body. I do believe that once resurrected, I will be beyond the human level of emotions; I believe that we will all, those of us resurrected to the second life, no longer have emotional feelings as we do now. Our sense of love and emotional closeness to each other will be beyond the physical and it will be as God feels- love that is so powerful, so much a part of us that it is like breath, and as such we will be in total joy just being with each other.

I can hardly wait.

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