Love only gives. Love never takes.
Jesus once told a story about a father who had two sons. The younger son wanted to leave home and find his independence. The father gave the son the value of his inheritance in cash. The father gave the older son what was left. The father “gave himself completely” for his children. Realize in this culture, their perceived identity was determined by their possessions. So the father lost himself in his sons. He gave the younger son what the son thought he wanted, knowing that this son would likely waste it all to find himself, and he did. In the end the son did find himself in his father. When he was at his lowest point, his thoughts were of home and his father. The son found his identity in his father. The father lost his identity in the son so the son could find himself. There were no strings attached at all. That is unconditional love that only gives. The younger son was completely and absolutely accepted by the father no matter what.
Jesus understood this truth. Jesus revealed this truth to us. Jesus showed us what unconditional love looks like. He often said “I and the Father are one.” He knew explicitly our oneness with the divine. It is said that Jesus never “sinned.” He never entertained a single thought of separation. This is the truth that he revealed to us. God gave himself to be us, to be one with us, to lose His self as us so we could find ourselves. We are the younger son. We have been given every resource to find ourselves in this journey. We are living His life in His truth following His way. Our will is His will and that will is that we would discover ourselves. In doing this we discover unconditional love is the core of our being. We come to understand and embrace this Love as ourselves. Love only gives. We wake up to that truth in this journey…or at least that is the plan.
So when we interpret the words of Jesus we need to see through the lens of oneness. We need to see that every person is a Son of God and collectively we are the Son of God. At the center of us, we are the Christ. When Jesus speaks, He speaks from this truth. He never entertained a thought of separation in any form. His words must reflect this truth. His words must be interpreted through the lens of other-centered, unconditional love that only gives.
Often we have interpreted the words of Jesus through a fallen ego or false-self lens. This perspective is what Jesus came to “defeat.” He wanted us to wake up to the truth of our true self, one in God, of God, one with God, the divine manifestation of the divine on earth. When Jesus said “I and the Father are one” He was revealing the universal truth of OUR identity as humankind. We and the Father are one.
OK, so how about I walk you through an example of how this might work? Let’s “see” how we might interpret the words of Jesus through oneness and unconditional love that only gives.
I have to unpack some Greek for you so bear with me just a moment.
There is a Greek word epithumeó that means “greatly desire to do or have something.” This would be the desire to take. Love only gives, it doesn’t take. Someone expressing epithumeó would be desiring to take from another. Another Greek word moicheuó is a Hebraism that meant “to draw away to idolatry.” In the Hebrew tradition they were to worship God only and turn not to “other gods.” A love that gives is of God and is our true self. To take would be “godlessness” or “idolatry.”
With that background we could say that to epithumeó something would be moicheuó or in a Lance Literal transliteration we could say this:
If you look on something and want to take that something or if you look at someone and want to take from that someone you would be godless or operating apart from divine love in your heart. (LLT)
I hope you can see clearly that taking is not operating from divine love. When we do that we are not living from our true self. Sadly the false-ego wants to take. It desires things to satisfy its false perception of lack. Our journey is to discover our true self as divine love. When we are taking we can’t possibly be operating from our true self but are instead operating from a false self or a fallen Adam, the “spirit of Cain.” To live that way is to live “of the world” that assumes entitlement instead of giving completely of our selves.
When we live from the false-self, we believe we are separate from God (Sin) and we insist on getting what we think we deserve. When we don’t get what we think we deserve we accuse and divide and categorize and make rules and make forms and look for scapegoats. We shift blame instead of owning our reaction to something. It is finger-pointing and not our divine nature. It is really a terrible condition that is akin to “hell on earth” or what Jesus would call Gehenna.
I’ve come a long way around the mountain, but now the punch line. This is what Jesus is telling us in these verses:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell”
In our fallen-ego perspective we see these words as rules or some legalistic approach to life. No. Jesus is telling us what it looks like when we take and not give. Love only gives. Those Greek words, I defined above, are translated here as “lust” and “adultery.” Wow, can you see the difference in understanding when we “see” through the eyes of oneness and a love that only gives? Here is a LLT for these verses:
You have heard it said “you should not draw away into idolatry.” But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman and wants to take from her has already lived apart from divine love in his heart. If your right eye causes you to live from the lie of separation, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better to lose one of your members than that your whole body be living a torturous existence on earth. (LLT)
Love only gives. To take is not divine love and it is not our true nature. Can you see that in this passage? Can you see that Jesus wasn’t using fear to get a response but was instead stating a truth about who we really are? Can you see that Jesus was trying to show us the contrast of our fallen-ego understanding and the reality of divine love? I hope so.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of interpreting through the lens of the false-self, the “world” perspective. When we do, we create a false perception of division. We are not divided. We are one. When we take from another we are taking from ourselves. When we give, as love only gives, we are living the divine reality of our true self. It is OK to admit that maybe you aren’t there yet. We are all on this journey of discovery. We are all waking up from a horrible nightmare to live in the light of the revelation of our true self. We are the divine manifestation of God on the earth. God lost Himself in us so we could find us and when we do we find Him. That is a love that only gives.