Being courteous without a real love for people is like a bowl of plastic fruit on the dinner table; it is fine for those only concerned about appearances but for those who are truly hungry for love, the plastic fruit only aggravates the hunger. I am an affectionate person. When I ask someone how they are doing, I really want to know. There have been many times when I have greeted someone and also asked them how they were, and their response was “hi” or “good morning.” I understand that from their experience “Good day…How are you?” is just a greeting people use but not an actual indication they are interested, which is why they are surprised when I sometimes persist by informing them that they didn’t answer my question. This is why those involved in religions centered around rules instead of relationship are often spiritually famished. They are having a feast of plastic fruit.
When someone just wants to get along with you, you will find they are really more concerned with avoiding the things you don’t like than pursuing the things you love. Their goal is to do the minimum required to meet their objective, which is merely to get along or avoid conflict. If someone loves you, then their interest is in the whole of you which includes what pleases and delights you as well as what you don’t like. Here is a proverb from the bible which speaks to this truth.
“5 Open rebuke is better than secret love. 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:5-6 KJV)
It is better to have someone around you who truly loves you and are willing to tell you the truth for your own good regardless of if you will get angry, than someone who just wants to get along with you and will withhold the truth just to stay in your favor that they might secure their objective. The commandment to love your neighbor as yourself means to have a sincere interest in doing what you can to help them to thrive and prosper as much as you have an interest in that which is for your own good. This is impossible to do without a sincere desire to fulfill the first and greatest commandment, which is to love GOD with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. To love GOD is not to be only concerned with His law and sin, because that only reflects one side of Him; the things He doesn’t like. To love GOD means to love all of Him, which also includes a sincere desire to pursue the things that please and delight Him.
So, what is the cause of this focus on merely what others don’t like or just getting along, doing the minimum. It is the demands of selfishness, the tyranny of a broken heart. A heart that leaks is always occupied with filling itself. A person with a broken heart does not have the liberty to focus on what pleases someone else for the good of the other. The only time they can please someone else is when it is connected to getting something as well for themselves. The only way a selfish person can be transformed is by getting them a heart that does not leak.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted…” (Luke 4:18 KJV)
A key provision of the salvation accomplished through Christ is fixing the leaky hearts. In fact, the provision of His salvation goes beyond just fixing the leak, He also makes the heart to run over with living waters. It is from this renewed and overflowing heart that we find the ability to love others beyond the scope of our own needs and desires. The first of the greatest commandments is a prerequisite to the second.
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:36-39 NKJV)
Putting our focus on a relationship with GOD first ensures that we have love to distribute to others in our lives. Even after our hearts have been healed, if we don’t spend the time being filled in communion with GOD, loving others can feel like a heavy burden. If you have ever flown on a commercial airline, one of the rules of safety is if there is an emergency and oxygen is required, put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others, which includes your children, or loved ones that are with you. Your ability to help those you love comes from putting a priority on your relationship with GOD first. Whether it is a relationship with your spouse, your children, your neighbor, your co-worker, etc., it is the strength and virtues of godly love which gives the best chances for success. I say chance of success in the relationship because even though you are given godly love to someone doesn’t ensure that they will return it. However, if you continue to love based on your individual relationship with GOD, it will keep your divine transformation from being arrested.
“2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:2-11 NKJV)
If there is a motive other than pleasing GOD behind your effort to build relationships, you compromise the source of true love and life, and though you may be successful in gaining the favor of others, the feast you share will not sustain life. YAHWEH is the only source of life and true fulfillment.