Substitutions

What everyone in the world really wants is to love and be loved.   There is a desire to have a warmth in the heart that comes from loving relationships that spurs one on to do the things required from day to day.  In a perfect world, this would occur for everyone all the time.  But, we don’t live in a perfect world.  Therefore, other emotions have stepped in to replace the love that is missing.

Hate. 

Hate is a good motivator, because hate is really love turned inside out.  As a mild example, I began life as a fan of the Minnesota Vikings.  But, I never could enjoy watching them play.  They hardly ever gave me any reason to feel good, since they choked all the time.  So I began to really hate being a Vikings fan.  I hated them so much that I was willing to be a Packer fan and suffer through 29 years of Super Bowl famine, just to keep hating the Vikings.  Eventually, my love for the Packers allowed me to let go of my hate for the Vikings, for whom I now just feel sympathy.  They still choke.

Along more serious lines, people tend to pin all their hopes and dreams on a single person.  As long as they can get that person to give them love, all is right with the world.  But if that love is withheld for any reason, it leads to hate.  Hate, as I said, is really love expressed in a negative way.  Hate shows that ones feelings still revolve around that individual.  Hate is a failure to see the truth and move on, the stop caring about that person.  That letting go is called apathy.  Apathy is much healthier than hate, because is doesn’t destroy a person’s life by not allowing them to find someone else to love.

A lot of people hate God.  Even a lot of atheists hate God.  This is evident by the level of effort they expend trying to debunk the existence of God.  The question is, why do they hate him so much?  It must be because they really want to love him, and they really want him to love them.  For some reason, they feel that this is impossible.  Maybe they are afraid to bend their lifestyles to conform with what God wants for their lives.  So they hate him because he is not flexible.  Or maybe someone told them that God can’t forgive certain things that they have done, that they will “burn in Hell” for what they did.  So they hate God because he is unforgiving (although this is not true).  Maybe they hate God because he cannot be seen, or because he doesn’t give them what they feel they need.  Whatever the reason, hating God is really unhealthy.  It causes all kinds of arrested development.

Lust.

A lot of things pass for love, but they really are cheap substitutes.  When we can’t have the love we want, we try to fill up our emptiness by fulfilling our carnal desires.  We know that there are a lot of unloved people in this world, because pornography is everywhere, including on public TV.  Sure they still censor some of the nudity, but the imagination can fill in all the blanks anyway.  When two people are writhing around under a sheet, is there anyone (including most of our impressionable children) who can’t figure out what is going on?  So, spare me your definition of pornography.  If is makes you horny, it’s pornographic for you.  If it makes you want something you can’t have, then it’s contributing to your arrested development.

Lust doesn’t only relate to sex.  We lust after all kinds of things.  Anything we long for even though we can’t have it is lust.  We lust after people, but also after houses, cars, big screen televisions, greener grass, fewer weeds. a cushier job, a younger or more beautiful appearance.  All these things and more are vain attempts to fill the vacuum of true love.  And, while they may seem to do so for awhile, eventually we just can’t pretend anymore.  In the meantime, these desires just degrade us as people.

Greed.

Greed could be defined as lust with a goal.  Want something you can’t have?  There is always a way to get it, if you have enough money.  Have to sell your soul to the devil?  It’s OK, just as long as you can get what you think you really want.  Some things, like having a harem of sex slaves or being able to sleep with minors might take a lot of money, enough money to buy part or all of small countries and pay for minions of followers, or to buy exclusive private estates and make large payoffs.  So, those things might never be within the reach of most greedy people.  But, we can all probably step all over some fellow workers or sabotage our competitors in order to get the objects of our more run-of-the-mill desire.  In the end, though, greed degrades us even more than the lust that underlies it.

Medication.

Don’t feel good?  Take a pill.  Can’t deal with your lack of love, exhausted by trying to cover up your lack with substitutes?  Medicate yourself until you can’t feel the emptiness.  Unfortunately, as anyone who has ever been addicted to anything, the feelings come back, and, when they do, they are compounded by guilt and more pain.  The only permanent fix through medication is to use enough to kill yourself.  Unfortunately, many people go that far.

I don’t go to bars much.  When I do, I notice that most people come to bars by themselves.  They have a plan.  They sit at the bar and start medicating.  Most of them eventually lose their inhibitions and start to party together.  They seem to be having a really good time.  But, it’s just the medication.  In the morning, when it wears off, they are still by themselves, plus they have a hangover.  If they are really unlucky, they wake up next to someone with whom they share no connection except for cheap sex, and maybe a baby or an STD.  This, of course, causes a lot of emotional conflicts, more bad choices, and, eventually, another person to hate.

Decades ago, when the geriatrics known as the Rolling Stones were just young punks, it was said that the way to tear down the establishment was with sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll.  They couldn’t have been more right.  Music puts us into a mind set. Today’s music puts us into a trance, in which advertisers and promoters impress upon us just what we should be lusting after.  And they promise to fulfill our desires.  Is it any wonder that rock music is behind every movie, every commercial, and every political campaign?

True love is available.  Only with true love can anyone avoid becoming a twisted shell of a person.  But, like the song said, we are looking for love in all the wrong places.  It’s not made any easier by a society that tries to legislate the real sources of love out of our lives.  Why, otherwise, would they care if someone puts up a Nativity scene?  Why would they so militantly try to destroy the tradition family, where the mother stays home and really loves her children.  Why would they so heavily burden the common man with taxes so that he must spend more time worrying about money (lusting) than caring for his family?

God is love, too.  But, not just any God.  The true God.  How do you know which one that is?  Ask yourself a simple question.  Any God who is truly love would give everything for the people he loves.  Which God has done that?  Any God who is truly God would find a way to forgive the wrongs of every person and make a way for them to be whole again.  Which God has done that?

“For God so loved the world, that he [sacrificed] his one and only son, that whoever puts their hope in him will not perish, but have [an eternal, perfect life, filled with perfect love]”

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