Failures in human relations result from either, ignoring or not knowing formulas put in place by God. You cannot love other people if you cannot love yourself. And you cannot love yourself if you cannot love God. The discovery of such formulas can, actually, be an answer to what humans have found illusive all along.
That principle has got nothing to do with selfishness. This post will, actually, reveal that a proud person hates him/herself. Contrary to the assumption that a proud person loves him/herself, that person is his/his worst enemy. A person who truly loves him/herself fully understands the purpose of existence [See “Another definition of sin is self-centredness”]
The scientific and mathematical problems can be daunting. But most of those problems, quite complex in nature, get easily handled by applying formulas. In the province of science, the discovered method is used as formula to solve similar scientific problems, in future.
There are formulas that are generally ignored, possibly out of ignorance, but necessary in handling common human problems. For Christians, the starting point is to avoid treating the Bible religiously. The Bible needs to be treated as an information book, as it contains all solutions to problems of relational nature.
Jesus is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6). But, on one occasion the Pharisees attempted to trap Him by asking a question that provides an answer to human relational problems:
“But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him; ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets’” (Matthew 22:34-40) (ESV).
The great commandment, obviously, makes it impossible to not love other people. A human being was created in God’s image. The first and great commandment simply restores a person to the source. An ideal person thinks like God, as to love everything that God loves. Like Jesus, a person who loves God in the way that is described is always preoccupied with the things that add value on other people.
Nevertheless, even though created in God’s image, each person has characteristics that make him/her different from other people. When truly loving God with all of one’s heart and mind, a person identifies with the purpose for which he/she was created. Each person was created to solve problems that no other could be predisposed to solve.
The application of the great commandment is possible when knowing the purpose for which you were created. Jesus knew the purpose for which He came to earth and He accordingly committed Himself to fulfilling that purpose without murmur. Jesus loved humanity, because God also loved humanity. But Jesus loved His being more than humanity. This is why He constantly found Himself at loggerheads with the Pharisees.
Jesus was not preoccupied with desiring to please people, but to fulfill the purpose for which He came to earth. His mission, given to Him by God, was more important than the missions of other people. Each of us have specific missions on earth, mostly unattended to, due to failure to appreciate the principle of loving oneself.
Most people seek to please other people, more than fulfilling their mission on earth. The majority of people die without ever identifying with their purpose on earth. The oppressive worldly system makes it impossible for an ordinary person to identify with his/her God-given mission. [See The greatest person the world has ever known]
A person who loves him/herself cannot be disappointed by the behavior of other people. This is why Jesus was not bothered by those deciding to leave Him, even though having originally committed themselves to follow Him:
“After this, many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:66-69) (ESV).
Others even commit suicide, due to being disappointed by other people in this life. Such people put their trust in human beings, thereby violating the first commandment; “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). Those putting trust in other people fail to appreciate the principle of putting trust in God, before other people.
The fact that Jesus died for humanity, has got nothing to do with us persuading Him to die for us. He deliberately made that decision Himself, without consulting us. This is why He cannot be disappointed by those failing to appreciate His unconditional love.
No-one owes Jesus anything, except those deciding to take advantage of His love, in order to receive life. There is no record of Jesus ever proselytizing for people to accept Him as their personal Savior. His love is unconditional, for anyone to decide to accept or reject it.
With that kind of love, when your spouse decides to walk away from you, nothing shakes you, as long as you love yourself, ahead of the person dumping you. As you draw enough love from your Creator, whom you love with all your heart and with all your mind. Like in Jesus’ case, the person dumping you doesn’t owe you anything.
Your desire is to give the person your best love, but he/she decides to spurn your endeavor, at some point. That does not disturb you, because your love comes from an inexhaustible bank, God. You remain committed to your mission, more than worrying about a person who deliberately spurns your unconditional love.
This is why Jesus could not lose sleep over those people pretending to be His disciples when the opposite was true. In the same way, a person who pretends to love you and dumps you, at some point, is not worthy losing sleep over. You have got a greater mission for which God created you. It’s time to move on.
If you love God with all your heart and with all your mind, you would remain committed to His Word. The behavior of the person who left you could, actually, be a blessing in disguise, as this may lead you to being closer to God, more than ever before.
It is only those loving others more than themselves who get overly distressed by those failing to meet their expectations. Such people could be biological parents, or one’s spouse or children. Jesus, who is our example, shows us the only way to keep happy, even when living among the unpredictable people in this sinful world.
If you love yourself you first commit yourself to God who created you in His own image, more than you think of anything else. That commitment takes away any preoccupation with sinful people. Like David, you delight in the Lord, as to be preoccupied with only appreciating what the Lord has done for you.
Having discovered the purpose for which God created you, nothing stops you from desiring to produce fruits, for other people to enjoy. The purpose for your creation is not for your own benefit. A fruit tree does not enjoy the fruits that it produces. Other species, like human beings, are the ones that enjoy.
Jesus never benefitted anything out of His unconditional sacrifices. But that is what makes Him to be who He is. His mission was simply to fulfill the purpose of saving humanity, without considering whether such people appreciate or spurn the sacrifice. His was to produce the fruit. Ours is to enjoy or spurn the fruit offered.
Jesus could be disappointed, but not lose eternity, due to someone’s misbehavior. He drew His love from an unlimited source. The same applies to those committed to applying Jesus’ principles. They are the happiest people in the middle of the disappointing humanity.
Those gripped in disappointment, due to wrong behaviors of others cannot love other people as themselves, according to the second part of the great commandment. Such people comprise those gripped in sicknesses like High blood pressure, ulcers, and heart problems. Some of them, actually, hold suicidal tendencies. Such people think they love themselves by blaming everyone for all wrongs.
A person who loves him/herself does not depend on other people. He/she is self-sufficient, as he/she is connected to his/her Creator. He loves other people, to the point of sacrificing for them, but understanding that those people may not love him/her in return. He understands those who may not necessarily understand him/her.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99
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