Question:

Hi Jeff,

I just wanted to ask you a question: Is it wrong to want emotional intimacy from someone? Our mindsets are to be about giving to others, so is it considered selfish or self-serving if you want to hear this person's thoughts and feelings, or their perspective on life? You want to listen to everything they have to say, which is emotional intimacy. Is that self-gratifying?


Answer:

"O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely" (Song of Solomon 2:14).

"You who dwell in the gardens, the companions listen for your voice -- let me hear it!" (Song of Solomon 8:13).

You are describing friendship; yet, you turn it on its head and make it into something wrong. How is it that wanting to listen to what someone else thinks an act of selfishness? "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath" (James 1:19). We are commanding to put the interests of other people ahead of our own. "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others" (Philippians 2:3-4). Taking interest in another person is the opposite of selfishness.

Just because you enjoy doing something, it doesn't make it wrong. Doing good brings its own pleasure. "But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God; yes, let them rejoice exceedingly" (Psalms 68:3).