When I was a younger man I was really good at complimenting people. Do you know why? Because I wanted them to like me. That's not complimenting that's using. Are you sure you have any friends? Are you really sure your spouse loves you? Are you absolutely confident that you are loving your children? Just how deep are your affections for those you say you love, how much do you care? Are you willing to die for them? Oh yeah? Or is It you who you are willing to die for?
Dependency is not love. If you need something you are using it. The selfish use people and things and most commentators agree that love is sacrificial. Love has been tested in the fire, it is refined, strengthened and robust. Even when you don't feel like loving someone, when they are frustrating you, upsetting you or ignoring you, love perseveres. What if they are not feeding you, abandon you, thump you, abuse you, don't want physical intimacy with you and spit on you, does love survive that? We are all desperate to be loved and people have endured some horrendous circumstances in the hope that this felt need will be met: "Yes I know he swears at me, kicks me and when he's drunk forces himself upon me but he tells me he loves me and why else would he want sex with me if he didn't care?"
Here's the point. Do you love those who you care about enough to seek to love them better? Do you want to explore a radical love? That kind of love can only come with truth, weighty truth that demonstrates its power with compassion, mercy, generosity, sacrifice and bewildering grace. Oh, if you would only truly dismiss all the world has taught you. If you would only recognize that disease grips the mind, corruption infects the mind, pride and vanity destroys. A friend is a nettle in the side not an echo. Do the people you spend time with, do those you listen to and whose words you enjoy simply echo much of what you agree with, desire and admire? How often do you welcome someone showing you your weaknesses, foolishness, or ignorance and seek to correct your habits and behaviour through their teaching? Every day? Your habits, after all, are forming your character. So what source of wisdom are you using to shape your habits and form your character?
It grieves me to know so many of those I know, love and meet think as I once did. Accept the ideas, theories and philosophies of the world as I once did. Set up false gods like children, success, intellect and comfort and invest in them their time, treasure, talents and emotions to provide the affections and love they hunger. These are idols that can never fully satisfy, will often fail you and eventually break you if you don't break them first with your disappointment as they fail to fulfill all the hopes you placed in them. Consider this faith you have in the scientific theories the world has presented you through its programmes of education and culture. You solemnly trust Uriah Heap album cover, that the world is a great big onion, that George Harrison and John Lennon are men of consummate truth, love and wisdom. Just teach the world to sing, imagine no more war, wave the karmic wand and we can all believe that something came from nothing? Have you searched the deepest recesses of the Cosmos? Then stop putting such blind faith in clinically depressed men like Charles Darwin, Richard Dawkins and Socrates
"It is true that somehow real satisfaction is missing but surely that's just the way of things, we came from nothing, we're going nowhere and the bit in middle has winners and losers?" "Those who can't take the heat commit suicide, others find addictions but in the order of natural selection, I'm doing fine. I get along okay with people, some get used along the way but I am essentially a good person, I'll do my best and we'll see what comes next."
Oh you ambivalent, complacent and indifferent fool! What if it's true? Just meditate on that as often as you can. What if there is a source of unparalleled, eternal and righteous love? Are you so callous, stubborn and obstinate that you would risk the souls of those you pretend to love? Will you not do all within your mind, soul and strength to investigate this astonishing truth claim? Are you too idle to reach out and grab your young child as he or she runs toward a busy main road? Then you should not be too idle to wake up. My deep desire is that you wake up.