February 13, 2005

love, republished

April 6, 2004

About Love

What is Love? I suppose this question has been posed and pondered and passed around many greater minds than mine, and so it is that I make use of several of them in this article. Some time ago, my middle brother, Jason, wrote an article about the meaning of words (1); and my oldest brother, Jeremy, recently wrote about Christ's Love which actually prompted the writing of this article. (2)

My brother, Jason, opens the ball nicely with this, "So you are probably thinking, so what exactly is Love and what do you consider [to be] its proper antithesis? I'm glad you asked. Selfishness is, more so than Hatred, the opposite of Love. And Love is, in its essence, a willful choice to put the good of someone else above that of your own. Christ tells us as much in John 15:13 when He says, 'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ The epitome of self sacrifice, an ideal exemplified by Jesus' own life. The direct enemy of such an ideal is the ever present and oh so subtle attitude of selfishness. It is for this reason, I think, that God places humility in such high regard."

Before we go on, let us first stop and clearly recognize two things that Jason states in his little contribution to my article. First, he says that Love is "willful." This may seem to be unimportant, but do not be deceived, it is of utmost importance! The commonly held misconception about Love is that it is exclusively an emotion, an act of the heart; but here he is saying that it is a choice, an act of the will. This distinction makes a profound impact on our perception of Love! Although, I admit that there is an emotional element involved, it is over-emphasized and leads to an imperfect view of Love. The second thing of importance that Jason said was that Love is the act of putting "the good of someone else above that of your own." Love is a matter of priority. It is normal for people to be selfish, but when we love someone, we are being selfless. In the movie, The Princess Bride, the hero shows his love by saying and acting out the words "As you wish." This communicates Love by saying that that person is of higher importance to you than yourself. In fact, many times in the movies we see Love demonstrated – when the man loves a woman enough to let her go for her own benefit. We may ask ourselves why that was Love, and if he really loved her why did he have to let her go? If we recognize that Love is putting someone else's good above your own you can easily recognize that he showed Love by esteeming her wellbeing as more important than his desire to have her. This is selfless sacrifice, and it is substantiated by Jesus' words in John 15:13 quoted above by Jason.

This brings me to my oldest brother, Jeremy, and his article in which he states, "Do you ever wonder what kind of Love that was? Did God's Love for us happen to Him? Was it the kind of Love you see in books and movies and TV shows, Love at First Sight? The Answer is NO. God's Love was a decision. It was a choice, a conscious act of the will." Once again we see this fact recognized.
Jeremy mentions the Love at First Sight, and the movie and book love stories, so let us address that issue. I have already used a movie as an illustration, so let us first talk about the whole concept of "falling in Love." Although I accept the cliché, I strongly object to the concept of Love being reduced to a trap in which we get caught, or something that just happens over which we have no control. We do not "fall" in Love, we “form” it. We do ourselves a great disservice when we allow ourselves to be disillusioned into believing that Love just "happens" and we are stuck with the result. Love is something so much greater than that, it is the most powerful force on earth, capable of overcoming our selfish hearts, and changing us into better people. Love causes us to aspire to greatness. In the movie As Good As It Gets with Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, Jack tells Helen that she makes him want to be a better man. This is what Love does. But it is not something that happens without rhyme or reason; it does not just "happen." Love is developed through a process, and it involves the whole being, not just the heart.

Let us give an example: John goes about his daily business of life and interacts with his normal relationships with everyday people. He begins to notice that Jane exhibits a wealth of great attributes that he really respects and admires. She is kind, gentle, polite, strong, godly, wise, humble, etc... A real 31 Caliber Woman! (3) John has now mentally recognized and developed a respect for those attributes and that leads to admiration for Jane – an act of the mind. That admiration leads to a decision to esteem her above him self – an act of the will. And now, he learns to develop a growing sense of affection for her – an act of the heart. As the attraction is developed in the heart, mind, and will, then the body begins to respond as well. He gets that tingly sensation when he thinks of her. This utilizes the whole being, and forms a 3 pronged anchor, or a 3 ply cord that binds that Love together in a lasting fashion. But when the heart rules the soul, your life is marked by tumultuous ups and downs, consistent inconsistencies, and short lived commitments.

This brings us to Love at First Sight, is it real? Sure it is. When you understand that Love is a decision, then it is easy to accept that you can decide to Love someone the very moment you see that person. However, is this proper, healthy, or even trustworthy? That depends. What is it exactly that causes you to decide to Love that person? Is it something that will last, or is it temporal? Is it something that is true, or false? These are the questions you have to ask yourself when this situation occurs. Sometimes, a spiritual connection occurs between two people the moment they meet, but you have to hold that in suspicion until it is proven to be true. You need to not trust your instincts to be true without proving them, and remember the Proverb that warns us to "Keep [guard] your heart." (4) Above all things we should honor God in everything we do; seek His will first and trust His timing.

1) http://walljm.com/blogcomments.asp?blogpk=468
2) http://jeremy.marzhillstudios.com/personal/archives/000100.html
3) http://www.godzscout.net/archives/000109.php
4) Proverbs 4:23

Posted by GodzScout at February 13, 2005 11:19 PM