Tue 29 Apr, 2003 07:30 pm
Is it simply a biological process that can be reduced to self-interest, or is it deeper than that? Does the existence of love hint at the existence of a purpose to life itself? How is love related to your concept of god?
I don't know what the purpose of life is, but love is definitely more than just biology or self-interest. As Heinlein said, "Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own."
I have no concept of God.
My concept of love is tied up completely in my concept of God. I believe only God is capable of, and actually embodies pure love. I think people make valiant efforts to strive for it, but because we are basically selfish (due to self-preservation), we can never completely attain it.
This excerpt from a sermon goes pretty far in explaining my beliefs about love. Bolds and italics are mine.
... the kind of love that most of us settle for just doesn't cut it. It doesn't have any backbone when the reality of life comes crashing in. No wonder our relationships are in turmoil. Our brand of love is too wimpy and weak - based on emotions - and passive - "whatever comes natural."
But there's an alternative and, as usual, the Bible tells us about it. It says that ...
God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7NIV
What an interesting grouping of words : "power, self-discipline, not timid" and "love." I think God is telling us that love doesn't have to be wimpy and passive. It can be powerful and disciplined. It's a bold kind of love!
And for the next few minutes I'd like to talk to you about what it means to love boldly. The best way to do that is to look at the quintessential biblical passage on love, found in chapter 13 of the book of Corinthians.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6NIV
Everything we just read, frankly, strikes me as just a little passive. I'm not saying that patience and kindness and humility and politeness are unnecessary qualities or even easy for us, but somehow they just don't have that proactive take-the-bull-by-the-horns boldness. That's why the next sentence is so important.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 1 Corinthians 13:7-8aNIV
Protecting, trusting, hoping, persevering -- Those are some of the boldest things you and I could ever do in a relationship with another person. Let's take them one at a time.
"Love always protects."
Did you see the story in USA Today last week about the guy who donated a kidney to his daughter?(6) A year ago, doctors told him that he was the best possible donor, but that he was too overweight to risk the surgery. So, he went on a diet and lost 100 pounds. Because he loved his daughter, he wanted to protect her and he was willing to make a personal sacrifice to do it.
1. Bold love requires sacrifice.
In fact, the Apostle John wrote that it's the mark of true love.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers ... Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions. 1 John 3:16NIV,18TLB
Bold love means that we go beyond mere words. We pay the personal price in order to protect and preserve the person we love, in order to do what's best for them.
That may not be as dramatic as losing 100 pounds and a kidney, or dying on a cross, but the principle is the same.
It could be something as simple as giving up a habit or practice that hurts the person we say we love. It could be something as simple as doing something their way - like not smoking around your children. It might be helping out around the house without being asked.
Bold love is constantly on the lookout for those kind of things and does them.
Let me clarify something here: sacrificing doesn't mean letting someone else walk all over you, i.e., "you just sacrifice and let them act like a jerk." That's not bold - that's passive.
Sometimes the most protective and preserving thing you can do for someone is to draw the line for their own good. That's bold love, and you will pay the price personally when you love like that. (My add: This is where 'not seeking your own' comes in. Sometimes, in order to love a child in a healthy way, you may do something that causes the child to be furious with you-- or you may leave an alcoholic husband, in a drastic effort to stop enabling him to keep drinking. These pro-active acts of love may not look like love...")
Let's move on to the second phrase: "Love always trusts."
Always? That sounds like a pretty risky thing to do, doesn't it?
2. It is. Bold love takes a lot of courage.
It takes a lot of guts to trust someone. It requires opening yourself up to the potential for a lot of pain, because people aren't perfect and they'll hurt you, even the ones who say they love you.
But, in spite of the risk, bold love makes itself vulnerable. It does things like saying "I love you" to the people we love, even though it feels a little uncomfortable. It expresses affection through appropriate touch. It lets the ones we love enter into the innermost secrets of our heart to share our hopes and dreams and our strengths and weaknesses.
That kind of openness can be frightening. But it's the risk that bold love is willing to take in order to develop a deeper level of relationship.
In real life, sometimes when we've sacrificed for the good of the one we love and courageously opened our hearts, we experience great disappointment. Sometimes our friends, or parents or children or spouses take the gift of our love and crush it. What then?
That brings us to the third phrase: "love always hopes."
Well, what does it hope for? It hopes that the one who has hurt us will, in the end, come around. It never stops believing that the day will come when that person will receive our love and return it.
As I have stated on another thread, I believe real love is a choice we have to make every day.
Money can't buy love.
But it sure can rent it for a few hours.
Money can't buy everything
Money won't make you a king
Money may not bring success
Money can't buy happiness
But of one thing I am sure
Money doesn't make you poor
Money doesn't make you sad
Money can't be all that bad.
To me, love's just biology (but, like the rest of biology, I'm willing to do it...), like everything else organic.
Love is caring more about someone else than you do for yourself, but you have to love yourself best.
The more love you give away, the more it multiplies.
Love is a total acceptance of things as they are, while striving to make things better.
Love is not to be given lightly, but should be given to all.
Love is a paradox.
All response are good I would only add that love is.
sofia: yea, it shall be so.
I hope you're not trying to say that Baptists are long-winded...
<I will get you smite-ed>
and you don't even need a priest to do it for you. you folks with your mainline connection. (i'm free-basing god, man!)
(no offense intended, of course.)
dog de la patio is correckt. I have a Hot Line to God, no middle man.
If we take offense, pdog, are we compelled to replace it?
...which is why I never take any.
there ain't no cure of love
<I've seen this before. He's going to break out with an old Gatemouth Brown or Muddy Waters tune any minute now.>
Everytime I see the title of this topic I hear the Howard Jones tune in my head:
What is Loooooooove anyway?
Does anybody love anybody anyway?
Takes me back to the days when everyone looked like Sofia's avatar
Love is great sex without the sex.
If it can't be weighed or measured, how do we know LOVE exists?