I've been pondering this question for several days. What do we really want? I suppose if you asked this question of a hundred different people out on the street you would get a variety of answers. The answers of some people would be materialistically-based. To them it is very simple. They want money. They want the things money can buy. They believe that if they had enough money to buy everything they want, they would be happy. Often, this sort of attitude is looked down upon by others as being "selfish" but truthfully, even those who denounce it would be quick to cry out if they were suddenly wandering penniless in the street, stripped of all of their possessions. We talk big but when push comes to shove our true nature comes out.
Then there are those who crave the accolades of others. They are always seeking to push themselves, always seeking the approval of others. Such individuals are often referred to as "people-pleasers" although on the other side of the coin you may see them jumping through hoops to try to please God. The problem is are they really trying to please God or are they trying to please themselves by believing that they are pleasing God. I wonder...
Other people submerge themselves in humanitarian efforts. On the surface, this is a very good thing. You make sacrifices in order to improve the human condition. It sounds very noble and in itself, it is not a bad thing, if our motives remain pure and it truly is about others and not us. However, at the end of the day, when the lights go down and we are left in silence to reflect upon our lives, are we satisfied or do we want something more?
Wealth, fame, admiration, dignity and respect... are these things what we really want/need the most or is there something more? The other day I read something which suggested that dignity was what we wanted/needed the most. I thought about that and I believe that to be incorrect. It might be what many think they want but I think we want something far more valuable than that.
I believe what we really want is to know that we are loved.
In a case-control study called "The Richard Corey Phenomenon: Suicide And Wealth in Kansas City, Missouri" which was published in The Journal of Forensic Science in March 2005, researches found evidence which suggests that the suicide rates are higher amongst people who would be considered to be more affluent and successful, than those who are not. Apparently money, fame and social status, respect and even dignity do not buy happiness or peace for I have no doubt that these people had it in one form or another.
On the other hand, you have people who live under horrible conditions with none of the above and yet not only do they persevere, there seems to be a contentment and peace that radiates from them despite their circumstances. Why? Is it because they are too ignorant to know that they should be miserable? I don't think so.
It is reported that often pressure is put on the wives of pastors who have been arrested to divorce them. Why? Because if a man feels like his wife has forsaken him, he feels that he is no longer loved and sinks to the deepest depths of despair. This is what wounds him more than anything else. To love and feel like that love has been rejected.
We are all familiar with the practice of shunning. Someone or a group of people withhold demonstrating their love for an individual in the hopes that the person will change their behavior and "return to the fold". Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. However, even if it doesn't, deep and painful wounds remain for a lifetime. Why? Because love has been repressed or snuffed out.
Things such as dignity and feeling respect towards others is important but we must not confuse the fruit with the vine. Without the vine, there would be no fruit. Christianity recognizes that vine as The Vine, Jesus Christ, who is Love itself.
What we really want is not wealth, fame, social status or even dignity although those things can be very nice. What we really want is to be loved and we are (John 3:16). The problem is, most of the world doesn't know it.