Creating Hesed (heart focused) Community and Increasing Hesed Love
Hesed can also be spelled chesed in English because the initial h is guttural. Saying “hess-ed” is closer to the Hebrew than saying “chess-ed’. The emphasis goes on the first syllable.
The Hebrew word hesed describes the core of God’s character. Hesed has often been translated as loyalty because it refers to a love born out of relationship or attachment. God loves us not because we believe right things or practice good behavior. God loves us because God is bonded to us. Hesed refers to the “sticky love” that is glued to us, stays attached regardless or of how we act or what value we add. God is described as hesed 253 times in the Old Testament. The Greek word “agape” is used to translate and describe hesed in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 4 “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
- As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
- But God has shown us how much he loves us—it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! Romans 5:8
- May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14
- Christ’s love compels us and urges us on; we are ruled by the love of Christ, His love has the first and last word in everything we do….anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also. 1Corinthians 5:14-18
- Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor demons, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31, 39
1. Increasing hesed requires a community of God’s people where we belong. We require a group identity in order increase hesed. I need a people who will help me do it
- Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. ”1 Peter 2:10
- God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ezekiel 37:27
- Hesed is developed through interaction with others. We love God because God first loved us—and while we were yet sinners and enemies. It starts with God’s unconditional hesed love and moves forward as our hearts are changed by that love. Hesed love grows as we experience it from others and “pay it forward”. God’s hesed love is central to all good things. Every place where Christians show the character of Christ is the result of hesed. My heart is drawn toward a love that even my enemies cannot stop.
- Hesed is the kind of strong attachment to others that no matter what they do or how many times they do it we still want to be with them. Hesed binds us together. We are most profoundly shaped by who loves us and whom we love and so we attach to them.
- We are never get so old that we lose the appreciation for someone with the ability to see us and love what they see. We remind each other who we are. What anchors us is to whom we are attached. We behave according to whom, to what we belong.
- Communities produce bonded friendship over time when deep attachments are formed in which I know the worst about you but love you too much to leave you in the mess you’re in.
2. Increasing hesed love requires a multi-generational community with the weak and strong receiving and giving hesed love
- Upstream people who know more about hesed love than we do. We identify and share our weaknesses and ask for help. Christians burn out because keep acting like they are stronger than they actually are.
- Peers with whom we practice hesed love
- Downstream friends who want to grow in hesed love.
3. Increasing hesed love requires God sight, seeing the way God sees us and those with whom we are sharing hesed love. We interact with God by learning to hear God’s voice.
- God speaks to us primarily through our thoughts. Hebrew poetry rhymes thoughts, not sounds. “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High.” Psalm 92:1 This means that as God’s poetry, our thoughts can rhyme with God’s thoughts; rhyming the same thought with different words.
- When we are hearing God we may not be sure it was us or God saying it. Often in conversation we easily finish each others sentences and thoughts.
- Being grateful connects us to God’s presence and helps us hear God’s voice. Psalm 100;4
I feel grateful. I open my heart and listen to God until I feel peace.
I notice what gave me peace and tell someone
4. The best indicator of growing hesed is the increasing love for our enemies. We are learning to love our enemies. Jesus teaches us, “I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44
- It is impossible to have an attachment with God and not be attached to our neighbor and enemies. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”1 John 4:20
- Our brain easily makes enemies out of the people around us when we are hurt or afraid. It is this tendency of the brain to make enemies out of people who hurt us that lies behind every character flaw. A sign of a healthy attachment hesed love is whether you hurt me or not I am in your life.
- In order to give hesed love to an enemy we need to know the signs when relational circuits in my brain are off or dimmed.
I just want to make a problem person or feeling go away.
I don’t want to listen to what others feel or say
My mind is “Locked onto” something upsetting.
I don’t want to be connected to___________(someone I usually like).
I just want to get away, or fight, or freeze
I more aggressively interrogate, blame and fix others.
My cravings become big.
I struggle to feel appreciation or gratitude
- I turn on relational circuits through Curiosity, Appreciation, Kindness, Envelope conversation
Curiosity helps me listen with my heart.
Appreciation helps me feel attached.
Kindness—increases hesed when we feed each other. Hesed (attachment) is designed to grow any time we are fed. The one who feeds us is the one who gives us life and the one we get attached to.
Envelope conversations help me keep the relationship bigger than the problem. Start with the history and importance of the relationship, discuss the problem, end with the hope that the relationship will be even stronger once the problem is solved.