Long ago…but not too long ago, a lovely young friend of mine asked me why she was failing to find that “special someone”…especially after dealing with the pains, insecurities, and children from divorce at a very young age.  She saw how I treated my wife, she heard my stories, and she probably thought I was qualified to give a thought or two.

I don’t think I’m qualified….certified…bona fide….whatever. 

Everything I know about good and loving relationships, I learn from the scriptures.  Yeah, I’m kinda weird that way.  But I know they work…and they’re not just supposed to work for me…but for everyone.  I’m no expert…but I’ve learned a thing or two.

So I asked her, “What do you think this means:

For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence;
    wisdom receiveth wisdom;
    truth embraceth truth;
    virtue loveth virtue,
    light cleaveth unto light;
    mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own;

She wasn’t quite sure she understood what it meant.

So, I asked her to consider this interpretation:

Like clings to like.
What you broadcast is also what you receive.
What you tune into is what you’ll get.

Why do you not hang out with and dress like the people who tattoo themselves all over their body and dress in black and pierce themselves all over?  Because it is not what you desire…that’s not where your heart is.

Why don’t you hang out with druggies and drug addicts?  It’s not where your heart is.

How about the folks that like to party all weekend, hit the bars, one night stands all over?  It’s not where your heart is.

Why do you not hang out with people of crowd A or crowd B?    It’s not where your heart is….and therefore…you don’t attract those people to you nor are you attracted to them.

The world teaches that opposites attract.  Maybe that’s how they explain why “good”pretty girls fall for studly, trashy, “jerk” guys.  Perhaps this is their explanation for meek, needy, submissive girls who fall for domineering guys….or even the other way around.  Maybe this is why strong, excitable personalities shouldn’t couple up with other strong personalities, and weak personalities put together could result in “boring” people.  

Perhaps.

However, this scripture teaches a powerful principle:  what you are like — internally, spiritually — draws in people just like you…in some form or fashion….good or bad.  This one is a little bit difficult to detect because it is in the realm of your beliefs, your commitment, your loyalty, your virtues, your faith, your character, your desires, your willingness, your disposition, your thoughts. In short, your Heart.

We’re not flawless, yet we long to be complete. And no matter how hard we try to suppress the things-that-need-work part of us, they manage to surface…and we worry that we’ll never find that perfect Someone for us because we know our flaws, we despise our flaws, and we want to present a flawless image to someone else.

However, there is also something in us that wants better than that…especially when we realize the error of our ways…and when we realize “This isn’t what I want…nor who I want to be.”  This is by design.

Welcome to the Atonement of Christ….where we are allowed to change our ways and become better.

And so, we change.

As we learn to have mercy, we meet people who are merciful to us.

As we learn to be wise from life’s mistakes, we meet people who are willing to learn and grow as well.

As we learn to be honest and truthful, we meet those who value honesty and strive to be the same.

As we learn to be virtuous (being clean and pure), we meet those who are striving to do the same.

As we learn to love…completely, willing to embrace their good parts as well as their needs-some-work parts, we meet those who will love us just the same.

Not only do we meet these people…we also learn to detect them, to “tune in” to them.  And they, in turn, will “tune in” to us as we strive to do those things as well.

“What about people being mean or saying hurtful things to others, or trying to point out all their wrongs, whether out of anger and or trying to cover their own mistakes up to make themselves feel better?” she asks.

You mean “abusers”, “users”, “domineering”, or “controllers”…to some degree or another?

I believe that people do hurtful things for a variety of reasons:  some, because they’re used to it.  Some, because they’re angry.  Some, because they’re trying to hide.  Some, because they don’t know how to express themselves better.  And some, because they love hurting people.    Sometimes, it’s easy to detect…other times, it’s not.

And what about those who fall victim to such people, who seem to feel trapped in such relationships?  What about those who are born into such circumstances?

I believe that there are those who are “empty” and “hungry” for something, but they don’t really realize their hunger and their emptiness.  They fall victim to those who are “hungry” as well.

Ever noticed how some children get fussy and hyper and quarrelsome…and invite others to do the same…when all they really hungry for was a nap? or hungry for a mid-afternoon snack?  Or hungry for some face-time with Dad?  Those are my kids.  They’re probably yours, too.  Or someone’s kids you know.

How about the neighborhood bully who suddenly got left out of a game but his friends weren’t…because he was considered a bully?  And all the kid really needed was a non-threatening, loving, sincere talking to….and a forgiving second chance?  Because he was never really treated with forgiveness and love and acceptance…despite his “rough edges”?  My son and I had to deal with “that kid”…and he’s a better kid now.

Adults, teens,kids…no different, really.

That’s why we are taught “anything that is virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”  Why look for people who hurt…whether intentionally or not? Why look for situations where we could damage our hearts and our spirits…intentionally or not?

Trouble will find us eventually.  Adversity will hit us unexpectedly.  Trials will come unwelcomed.  What we need to do is fill the bucket of our life with people and things from the Lord’s bucket of “good things”… so that when such “bad times” or “bad people” come, we have the resources to deal with it.

There will be those who will be drawn to good things…but for one of two reasons.

If their heart is sincere, it is because they, too, want to be good and are inspired to become better.  They see that goodness as something to preserve, to maintain, and uphold in that person.  It is respected, and revered.  That goodness is something for them to become as well.  They wish to be that good.

If their heart is selfish, it will be because they want to “consume” those good things for their personal lusts and selfish desires.  Beauty is displayed for attention, for personal gain.  Abundance is taken from.  Virtue is ravished.  Intelligence is exploited.

Like cleaveth unto Like

As we radiate goodness to others, those who seek such light will come to us. As we radiate patience, we encourage others to do so as well.

Looking back, I’m glad I listened to the whisperings of the Spirit during the time that the Lord was trying to open my eyes to my future wife at the time. She was praying that…whoever would be her husband would open his eyes to see her. She had to be patient with the Lord as the Lord tried to prepare me for her.

And now…I can say that I love her love, her goodness is what I hungered for, her laughter and liveliness are what I’ve needed, and her spiritual-mindedness are what I connect with. I, on the other hand, have had to grow into what she has needed, wanted, longed from me. It’s taken some time, but I feel like I’ve come a long way from being the “blind” man I was….with much more still to go. She is exactly who I need to complete where I lack…and I only hope to do the same for her.

For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence;
    wisdom receiveth wisdom;
    truth embraceth truth;
    virtue loveth virtue,
    light cleaveth unto light;
    mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own;

Opposites in matters of the heart and mind don’t attract. Not in relationships. However, Like-Mindedness, Like-Heart-edness, and Like-Spirit-ness add upon each other. Our differences, not “oppositeness”, help complete each other.

It is Love as Christ loves that binds all of that together…and Joy becomes the fruit of that Togetherness.

For that is what we–my wife, and I–have…Together.

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