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Love God And People
by Casey Treat
Many leave God, the church, and their family because of a fear of intimacy. It\’s more comfortable to be into themselves and their own needs.
Many of us were reared in environments that were closed. My father was a very quiet person. He was a farm boy, reared in Nebraska. He only talked to the corn. Then he moved to be near his family. He became a carpenter and was alone in his shop for eight to ten hours a day.
He did not talk when he came home. He was present in body, but the house seemed empty. The intimacy was not there. There was no abuse, but the lack of communication and intimacy pushed my mother into divorce.
The week my father died, I talked to him on the telephone. \”Hey, Dad, how are you doing?\”
\”Oh, good. Everything\’s good.\”
\”Still working as a carpenter?\” I asked.
\”What are you doing this weekend, Dad?\”
It was the same thing he did every weekend. I said, \”Why don\’t you come over? We\’ll have lunch together.\”
He had not seen my children in a while. \”We\’ll get together and spend some time with each other. I\’ll come to pick you up.\”
\”Oh, no,\” he insisted. \”I don\’t think I have time.\” Two days later, he went out to feed the horse, sat down by the stall, and died. My last conversation with him was \”Sorry. No thanks. I don\’t have time.\”
There is a tremendous need for intimate, close, honest relationships. Intimacy produces inner healing. You cannot live a closed life and be healthy.
Many of us walk into environments surrounded by people and ask, \”How are you today?\” \”Good to see you.\” \”How is your family?\” Then we walk out the same way we walked in, with no one touching us.
We worship God much the same way. \”Praise the Lord. Hallelujah.\” We are into ourselves and think we are OK. One day we will sit down alone and die, to be discovered a few hours later.
Intimacy is contact and connection with God and His people. We cannot have one or the other. Some say, \”I\’m close to the Lord—just me and the Lord—but not to people. I don\’t enjoy being around people.\”
They live in a fantasy. They do not really have a relationship with God. People are made in the likeness and image of God. If you love God, you will love people.
Remember, in Matthew 22:36 the disciples came to Jesus and said, \”Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?\” In other words, what is the number one statement, the greatest message in the entire Bible?
\’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.\’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: \’You shall love your neighbor as yourself.\’
Jesus was saying, \”You can\’t achieve the first without the second. They are synonymous. One is impossible without the other. Love people around you as you love yourself.\”
If all Scripture were summed up in one statement, it would be: \”Love the Lord your God and love the people around you as you love yourself.\”
We go through our daily lives—to church, to the office, and home—to be isolated and separated. Yet we do not understand why we are not experiencing the fullness, the joy, the people, the happiness, and everything the Bible says life has to offer.
We lower our expectations and give up our dreams. We accept far less than we really want to because we figure \”that\’s all there is.\” It is a result of our own lack of intimacy.
The thing that fascinated people about Jesus was that He wanted to get close; He wanted to connect with people. He was not about robes, titles, laws or sermons of eloquence. He was aboutpeople, and the people responded.