Monday, November 30, 2009

Love is...

Al Green sang of "Love and Happiness" in one of his most famous songs. Many of us remember the "Love Is..." comic strip that has been around for years. Almost every religion on the planet talks about how the creator (no matter what you call him/her) has an unconditional love for us. Newly weds and people that are in a new relationship have the warm and fuzzy feeling of love. There are so many things around us that give various examples of what we "think" love is.

The top 3 definitions of love as a noun are:
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3. sexual passion or desire.

The top 3 definitions of love as a verb are:
1. to have love or affection for: All her pupils love her.
2. to have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for (another person).
3. to have a strong liking for; take great pleasure in: to love music.

If I had to tell you what I think love is, I would have to say that it is a decision to make a commitment, then being committed to that decision. Nothing more... nothing less.

From a spiritual standpoint, that's what I believe God has done with us. No matter what we do, God still loves us. No matter how bad we mess up, the divine creator still has this unconditional love for us. Scripture refers to it as agape love. I didn't really understand it until I had children of my own. I can't think of anything that they could do to make me stop loving them. Now that doesn't mean that I allow them to get away with stuff... or if one of them robbed a bank that I wouldn't be disappointed. But there is nothing in the world that can make me stop loving them. I decided to make a commitment, and I am committed to that decision.

So why is it that people fall "in and out" of love? In my limited experience, and I do not proclaim to be an expert by any means, many people confuse how they feel in a particular moment as love. In other words, they proclaim "love" based on how they feel at a particular moment. It's easy to love people during the good times, but what about the bad times?

There also needs to be a distinction between love and acceptance. For example, you may love somebody who has a drug addiction for example. You can still love them without accepting their behavior. There have been people in abusive relationships that loved their spouse, but had to remove themselves from unacceptable behavior.

1st Corinthians 13:4 reads:
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I think that love never changes, but our interpretation of it does... and with different people having different viewpoints, it's easily misconstrued. We were all fashioned in love. Created by the Most High as the ultimate symbol of what love is. And when we really get closer to our spiritual nature, we experience love on the highest level possible.

This is just my viewpoint though :-)

Suggested Readings:

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

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