By Rick Moore
If you love someone, but that person doesn’t feel you love them, is it really love? The Bob Dylon song “Make You Feel My Love” was first released by Billy Joel, and continues to be sung by famous artists such as Garth Brooks, Kelly Clarkson, and Adele. One of the reasons the song is so popular is because we want to feel loved, and we want others to feel we love them. Parents try to convince their children the reason they are punishing them is because they love them, but that sure doesn’t feel like love. If I eat an extra piece of cake, it makes me feel better, even if that cake is bad for me. If I force myself to go exercise, I feel miserable, even though exercise is good for me. Yes, feelings are fickle. But we must not ignore them.
Love is relational. When what is on the inside of a person interacts with what is on the outside, it results in a feeling. Some people need a hug in order to feel loved. Some people need words of affirmation. Maybe I feel like talking to someone, but they don’t feel like talking to me at the moment. That usually results in feelings of rejection, even though that was not their intention. We often judge others by the way they made us feel, yet expect others to judge us by our intentions. It doesn’t work that way. Perception may not always be reality, but it is our perception that guides our feelings. I have much control over my feelings, but limited control over how I make others feel.
The word happy is closely related to the word happenings. If good things happen, we tend to be happy. If bad things happen, we tend to be unhappy. Yet, it is possible to have good things happen to us and we remain unhappy. It is also possible for bad things to happen to us and we remain happy. Therefore, our feelings are not really guided as much by what happens, but what we think about what happens. Many years ago, a scholar named Paul who was unjustly locked in prison wrote these words: “Whatever is true, whatever is honest, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report,…think on these things.” He wasn’t in denial of the fact he was locked in prison for something he wasn’t guilty of. He wasn’t in denial that any day could be his last. But those were not the thoughts he dwelt on. Paul saw good in his situation because that is what he was looking for.
We began with the question, if a person doesn’t feel you love them, is it really love? The practical answer is no. It’s like asking if a tree falls in the forest and makes a crashing sound, but no one was there to hear it, did it really make a crashing sound? It becomes a distinction without a difference. If I love someone but they can not feel my love, it means there is a disconnect somewhere. If I place my cell phone on my nightstand, but forget to connect it to the charger, when I wake up in the morning my cell phone will be dead. It doesn’t matter that I meant to connect it. It doesn’t matter that it was close to the charger. It wasn’t connected so it didn’t work. The same is true with my relationships. I can be close to someone and still be disconnected.
How can you make a new connection, or repair a broken connection? The secret is to focus on asking the right question, rather than seeking the right answer. Getting the question right is the right answer. Asking a person how they feel, and then listening to them is almost always the best way to connect. Give it a try today. Simply asking someone how they feel is a great way to allow them to feel your love.
Rick Moore is Communications Pastor at Destiny Worship Center in Miramar Beach.