The core focus of this blog is how to enhance healthy relationships. That is what the Great Physician said was most important in life and who am I to disagree with Jesus? Matthew 22:36-40 relates how Jesus answered a question from a lawyer by quoting two passages from Deuteronomy 6 and Leviticus 18.
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength and your neighbor as yourself."
I do wish we had another term for this other than "love". This word is used in English to describe everything from my compulsive desire for chocolate to marital union to the sickest type of sexual behavior known to humanity as well as our love and respect for parents, children and God.
Any term that can be used that broadly cannot communicate with preciseness the importance of relating to God and neighbor with the quality of care that scripture intends. I do not have anything like the emotional connection with God that I have with my wife of 46 years. And, both are qualitatively different from the love I have for my grand kids. Yet, we use the same term.
All of these are relational and demand some action on my part. My love for God draws me to converse with Him in intimate ways but my love for Karen is expressed very differently in word and deed. I want to please God and Karen and my grand kids but I do it differently. I sense God's pleasure as I minister, preach and worship. I also feel His pleasure as I play golf and work out.
I also sense the pleasure of my grand kids when I do what they want. However, I often refuse to give in to their desires. I never intentionally refuse God. God is perfect and they are not. Karen is close to being perfect but still...
By following God I trust that all things will work out for the best in His plan. I don't always trust the plans of others. My love for God acknowledges His transcendance, power and knowledge of the future. Nobody else deserves the same respect so love is differently applied for God and humans and for each person.
Love does indicate a need to keep my relationships clean and open. Holding grudges and carrying resentments are contrary to godly love. Love indicates forgiveness and release from all desire to punish others. Man, that is difficult.
We are all works in progress. God is not finished with me yet. Have mercy upon me oh God. I desperately need it from you and everyone else.