Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What if Love and Belonging Are the Most Important of All?

Remember Maslow?  He said that we have needs and they show up in a certain order.  At the very base of what we need is food, water, etc.  Then we move into safety and we need to have that before we can feel love and belonging.   If we are fortunate to have all of these things we can move to self-esteem and them self-actualization.

Now I don't want to get to technical here, or even get into great detail, but some behavioral scientists are now suggesting that there are several instances in life where people will trade meeting their physiological needs and their need for safety in order to have love and belonging.

Think about kids living on the streets who form a group.   They may have the opportunity to leave that streets in order to have a safe place to live and food to eat, but they will stay with their friends.

Why is this important?   I think it has many implications.  As parents in any setting, it shows that the mount of money we spend on our children matters way less to them (even if they don't realize it) than how much time we spend with them and how much they feel they belong.

It certainly applies in the orphan care movement -- that if love and belonging is what human being needs more than anything, that caring for these orphans in a family like setting is more important than making sure they have shoes to wear.  

I think it also has implications for the church and society as well.  I love how 1 Peter 2:10 reads in the NRSV:
Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people.
Being God's people and belonging in God's family is so powerful.   And since God says that ALL people are HIS people, everyone belongs.  Just like Lilo said to Stitch when he was running away:
"Ohana" means "family."  "Family" means "no one gets left behind."  
What does that mean for you and me?  That need to be about the task of figuring out ways to instill that sense of belonging in the people we know.  Many people from hard places do not even know what love is, so trying to focus on that might not be as significant as making sure that people know that they belong.

What can you do today to make sure that the people in your life know that they belong -- whether it is in your family or in God's family.

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