Loving God

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Photo Courtesy : Loving God

Almost all scriptures ask people to love God. The Bible says, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’

How can one love God who is never seen or heard?

Can you love the Absolute or the Universe whom your mind can never understand?

Often people show their love for the idol of God in temples and churches or express their love for the images of God like Ram, Krishna, and Jesus etc. They pray to them as they pray to a powerful and respectable person in the hope of getting their wishes fulfilled. People travel thousands of miles to visit sacred places, where they believe God resides. They show their love and respect for God in various ways: undertaking various pilgrimages, offering donations or feeding holy persons in the hope that God shall love them too.

However, the same people who make all these efforts to love God and pray to Him everyday, often show much dislike for things and people in this world. They may be quick to curse those they believe to be criminals, cheats or sinners in any fashion. They cannot believe that God is in the hearts of these people too, for they have not made the effort to understand such people and thus cannot imagine the presence of God in them. Therefore, they search for God outside us. A true lover of God also loves his creation by cultivating love in his heart.

Shaikh Abu Saeed Abil Kheir, a Persian Sufi poet from Khorasan, refers to himself as a ‘nobody, son of nobody’ and says,

If you are seeking closeness to the Beloved,

love everyone.

Whether in their presence or absence,

see only their good.

If you want to be as clear and refreshing as

the breath of the morning breeze,

like the sun, have nothing but warmth and light

for everyone.

Those who think that God is perfect but His creations are evil do not know God at all, though they may believe themselves to be great devotees of God. Such behaviour comes from their lack of understanding of God. The Bible clearly says:

We love because he first loved us. Those who say ‘I love God’ and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, can’t love God whom they have not seen. The word we have from him is this: ‘Those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.’

It is easy to love an image and see only its positive side. It is much more difficult to love ‘real’ people as they are not perfect. It is even more difficult to love people who are our competitors or rival for their interests clash with ours. When you know a person, you come to know both the good and evil in him, and this evokes feelings of love as well as hatred.

People continue to love God despite hating his creation for they can neither see nor hear God nor understand Him. Hence, they cannot find any fault in Him. This allow them to sustain their illusion of love.