As humans, we are social beings.Therefore, every one of us has the need to be loved, appreciated and have relationships with others. Humans are incapable of living on their own, with no relationships. That is why people who are in solitude tend to go insane. We were created to live in a society and depend on one another.
Every one of us has five important aspects to our relationships: the physical aspect, the emotional aspect, the mental aspect, the social aspect and the spiritual aspect, all of which were designed to work together in harmony and synergy.
In Western culture, we’ve grown accustomed to expecting quick and immediate satisfaction, even in our relationships. Where do we find quick and immediate solutions? In the physical aspect, of course. It’s easier to be physically intimate with someone for a few minutes, than to be intimate in the other four aspects that make us who we are. However, we quickly discover that sex can only briefly and partially satisfy your need for love and relationships; a deep and concealed desire which does not easily find satisfaction.
The problem is that we base our understanding of what love is and what relationships are on Hollywood movies and TV commercials. These depict shallow relationships. An example of this is the term “intimacy,” which has developed a sexual connotation. However, intimacy is much more than sex. Intimacy embodies all the various aspects of our lives. Yes, the sexual aspect is included as well. But more important are the social, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects.
The meaning of the word “intimacy” is sharing our lives with others. It derives from the desire we all have for closeness and unity, and, of course, sharing our lives with other human beings in relationships. The problem is that, as humans, we are imperfect. Therefore, our relationships are imperfect as well. The closer we get to other people, the greater our chances both to hurt them and be hurt by them.
You see, there is no such thing as love or a relationship without pain.
The closer we get to someone, the greater our chances of getting hurt, since both of us are far from perfect. That is why any person you ask will testify to having been hurt by one relationship or another. As a result, many of us build walls around our hearts in order to protect ourselves from any outsiders who may end up hurting us. But that same wall, which keeps people out, is also the wall imprisoning us within. And as a result, feelings of loneliness and bitterness enter our hearts and take over.
Hollywood movies tend to paint a picture of a love which feels like butterflies in our stomachs. Of young, sexy, good looking and vibrant couples. A fake love which barely lasts for the better part of an hour. But what happens when we grow old, wrinkled and sick? Can such a love last? Of course not.
Love is so much more than feeling butterflies in your stomach or having sex. True love is made up of decisions and actions – even when we can barely feel the butterflies.
The search a perfect love
We, as humans, are not perfect. We are incapable of having perfect relationships. We must look for a definition, an example and a role model for perfect love, outside of human relationships.
Take a look at the definition Paul the apostle wrote in the New Testament to describe what perfect love is:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. ”
[1 Corinthians 13:4-8]
Let us go over those verses with you once again, but this time, imagine they applied to your personal relationships. That your loved one would ALWAYS respond to you in a patient, kind way without any jealousy at all. That this person would not be boastful, arrogant or prideful. Would not be rude, selfish or irritable. Would not humiliate you or remind you of your past transgressions. Would never lie to you, but always tell you nothing but the truth. Would protect you, trust you, hope for the best for you, and stay with you even through your worst of times, when you are sick or dying.
Who among us can fulfill such a love as described in these verses?
In order for us to know how to love in that way in our relationships, we first must experience it ourselves – a perfect love from a perfect source.
We won’t be able to express such a love before we understand and experience it firsthand.
And we won’t know what a relationship with someone perfect could be, until we build a relationship with perfection itself: with God.
These verses are, without a doubt, the definition of perfect love. But can we find a practical example?
According to the New Testament, God chose to demonstrate His love for us through the Messiah. That is our example of a perfect relationship.
A love that is focused on the welfare of others, rather than insisting on its own. A Messiah who humiliated Himself and gave up His life on the cross for human sinners. Only someone who knows God and whose heart is overflowing with God’s love will be able to understand what Yeshua said, when He commanded that we love and pray even for our enemies, forgive those who sin against us and love those who do not love us back.
See how human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Martin Luther King, summarized Yeshua’s words from the New Testament:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. That is why Jesus said: ‘Love your enemies. do good to them that hate you’ ” [Dr. Martin Luther King]
Whereas we are all corrupt human beings who make mistakes, God is perfect and loves us in a perfect way. Whereas human relationships frequently end because the butterflies are gone, an accident occurred, or simply because we’re just not as “hot” as we were 20 years ago, God’s love is not based on what happens in our lives, on our physical appearance, on how much money we have in the bank, on the color of our skin, on our race, our gender, or on the religion we were born into.
He loves all of us equally.
What do you think is the most powerful method by which love can be expressed?
Life experience teaches us that those who truly love are capable of sacrificing and giving up what they hold dearest for someone else. Like the love of a mother willing to give up her own life in order to save her children’s. Or of a man who is willing to sacrifice his life if it means saving that of his lover. History is filled with such moving stories. The greatest and most famous is predicted by prophets in the Old Testament and realized in the New Testament. God revealed Himself to us as the Messiah and expressed His love for us by taking upon Himself the punishment we deserve for our horrible sins and mistakes. He gave His life for us. That is the perfect love and sacrifice – such that it should make us all be grateful to God, and humble toward our fellow human beings. After all, if a perfect God gave His life for us, imperfect human beings, who are we to show arrogance or pride toward other people?
We would like to summarize with what John said in the New Testament:
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” [1 John 4:7-11]
That is a perfect love, which is expressed through unfathomable grace.
What kind of king steps down from his throne to join the commoners? Leaves his castle to be with sinners? Abandons his majestic splendor to die for those who hate him? Is willing to take the punishment we deserve upon himself?What kind of king gives his own life to set us free? The King of Kings. That is how God demonstrated His love for us: by taking human form, the form of the perfect Messiah, and revealing Himself to us in order to sacrifice His life for us.
That is unfathomable grace.
That is perfect love.
For more information: iGod.co.il/018
Eitan's professional background is in "Multimedia Design and Visual Communications" working for various secular advertising agencies in Tel-Aviv.
Eitan is the producer of:
1) I MET MESSIAH (Jewish testimonials).
2) Answering Rabbinic Objections to Jesus.
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