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Need & Want

posted Apr 6, 2010, 8:23 PM by Edward Jue   [ updated Apr 6, 2010, 10:29 PM ]
February 2010

What is the difference between “need” and “want”? A question provoked by the readings. As I read Genesis 1, I tried to see what were the things that were needed and what were the things that were desired. God wanted to create light, day, night and time. HE did not have to make any of these, but HE desired to because HE saw these things as good. However, I noticed that in all subsequent creations God made from HIS desire depended on the provision created before. For example, before God created animals, HE created plants, so the animals could be feed. Before God created plants, HE created water because the plants needed water to sustain life. Then, what did man need?

In Genesis 2:8, God said it was not good for a man to be alone and God created a helper for him. In other words, man needs a community. Although if we follow the logic of how a man is made from the image of God and if God is perfect, then man is a perfect creature and should not have any needs. However, as I can see from the bible and in my own life, man does need company. In the lecture, we discussed how it is impossible to define oneself without another. In order words, it is impossible to define the uniqueness of who I am without have another being. When God created Adam, he was perfect, but he was not able to distinguish himself. Even though Adam had a body, soul and spirit, he was lacking something and that something was social interaction. Adam needed another human being to interact with and that was the reason God created woman. HE created woman not only so that man has someone to develop social skill with, but to bring out the completeness and beauty of man.

The need for man to have a community is seen throughout the bible. When Jesus sent out HIS disciplines, HE sent them in pairs.[1] The bible also taught us to pray together with at least one other person.[2] To me, God created this need of community in man in order to reveal and complete the greatest and perfection in HIS creation. I experienced firsthand when I met my fiancés, Elisa. For the first time, I could understand the joy, peace and perfection Adam must have felt in seeing Eve. When God created woman, HE took part of man’s inner being and gave it to woman. Women in my opinion were much more emotional and gentle than men and that was what men needed. On the other hand, God gave man more physical strength and a leading role so woman could rely on man’s protection and decision making skill. Only are they together could God’s design be completed.

Elisa and I are the same way. We both filled each other’s gap and complement each other so that God’s greatness could become whole. I have always felt something is missing in my life, a sense of dryness. I feel like somehow my sense of emotion and caring are missing. It is hard for me to feel how other people feel and I find it difficult to know how to care for others. This might have to do with my upbringing. Since my father passed away and my mother was forced to leave my siblings and I when I was three, I never received the love and care a child needed. Although my grandmother cared for my needs in the material sense, she did not fill the yearning of parental love I had. As the oldest child, I was given the role of my father immediately after his death. I was told and expected to act as a role model for my younger siblings and provide for their needs.

However, nobody saw my own need. I continued to strive to live up to other’s as well as my own expectation of who I should be as a “father” for my siblings. I did the best I could accord to my own conscious. I loved my siblings, but only out of responsibility and obligation. My love was conditional and very much self-centered. I love them as long as they listen to my commands and followed as I instructed them. I also lacked any social skill. Since social skill requires giving and taking from other parities, I was always giving and never receiving.

Many times I thought life was very unfair and I questioned the Heaven why I lost so much in life. However, that all changed when I met Christ after I was adopted by a Chinese couple in San Francisco. Rather than seeing how I have lost so much, I realized how much God made it up in other aspects. Most importantly, God revealed HIMSELF to me. HE also provided my adapted parents and gave me the opportunity to grow up in church so I can experience what real love is. As I saw how people give without expecting anything in return, my definition of love changed from being a responsibility that comes as part of a trade agreement to an act that does not count wrongs or results. Growing up in church also allowed me to develop my social and caring skill.

Although I can say that I am a more caring person today than before, I still continue to have struggle in caring for my adapted parents. Since I never felt connected with them, for a long time I was taking care of them out of the intention of repaying them. Even though it is still very hard for me to feel connected with my adopted parents today, I sensed that my attitude toward them has changed. I now love them because I love God and I am following His command to honor my parents. There is still much work God needs to do on me to make me a caring person. However, I am grateful that God is providing me a helper, an emotional and caring woman that can help me to see the needs in others. The difference between man and woman reminds me of the difference between the Old and New Testament. The Old Testament is like the man which is more harsh, less emotional, more rigid and more about rules. The New Testament is like a woman which is softer and more about grace. Jesus said that HE came not to demolish the laws; rather HE came to complete it. As woman completes man, Jesus completes the Old Testament. Similarly, the church is like the woman and Christ is the groom and they need to join together as one so that the church becomes the body and Jesus as the head. In this way, they can become a whole being and God’s glory can be shown in even greater magnitude. Therefore, the need of man for a community is an instrument that fulfills God’s desire to receive glory from HIS creations. HE does not need it, but HE desires it.

[1] Luke 10:1 (New International Version)
[2] Matthew 18:19-20 (New International Version)