Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What is Love?

Over the past year I have been living on an emotional roller coaster and needed to step back and look at the feelings that I have been living. With this I also needed to step back on look at what is love, what it means to be in love, and how to love unconditionally! For in John 13:34-35 it say "A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." Does this mean we are to be madly in love with everyone because God is madly in love with each and everyone of us. So this made me start searching for some answers and doing some research on different views on what it means to love.

While I was searching I came across a survey of 4 -8 year olds, who were asked for their views on love. It's amazing some of the answers they gave.

  • "Love is that first feeling you feel before all the bad stuff gets in the way."
  • "When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
  • "When someone loves you, the way she says your name is different. You know that your name is safe in her mouth."
  • "Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
  • "Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your french fries without making them give you any of theirs."
  • "Love is when someone hurts you. And you get so mad but you don't yell at him because you know it would hurt his feelings."
  • "Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
  • "Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
  • "Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My mommy and daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss but they look happy and sometimes they dance in the kitchen while kissing."
  • "Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
  • "If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate."
  • "Love is hugging. Love is kissing. Love is saying no."
  • "When you tell someone something bad about yourself and you're scared she won't love you anymore. But then you get surprised because not only does she still love you, she loves you even more."
  • "There are 2 kinds of love. Our love. God's love. But God makes both kinds of them."
  • "Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
  • "Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they've know each other so well."
How smart is the young child who knew there are two kinds of love; Our Love and God's Love! WOW! Or what about the one who said in order to love better you should start loving a friend who you hate. It's amazing what you can learn from children!

However it still brings up the question of how can you use the same word for; I love Jesus and I love pizza? The means of both love's are completely different from one to another.

Wikipedia defines love as: "Love represents a range of emotions and experiences related to the senses of affection and sexual attraction. The word love can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from generic pleasure to intense interpersonal attraction. This diversity of meanings, combined with the complexity of the feeling involved, make love unusually difficult to consistently define, even compared to other emotional states. As an abstract concept love unusually refers to a strong, ineffable feeling towards another person. even this limited conception of love, however encompasses a wealth of different feelings, from the passionate desire and intimacy of romantic love to the nonsexual. Love in its various forms acts as a major facilitator of interpersonal relationship and, owing to its central psychological importance, and sought after by many religions of both Easter and Western origin. "

Wow now that is a way to look at love. What do you think? Do you want to go back to the 4-8 year olds answer about love? :D

Don't you worry this is just a small bit of what people view love as. As I was searching for answers I also came across a website that made me question love even more by comparing it. So here are some more questions to think about.

If you are looking for love, would you recognize it if you found it?
Can you tell the difference between love and infatuation?
Between love and attraction?
Between love and sexual desire?
Between love and friendship?

I use to think that love was a choice and I found many people online who sees it the same way. One person put it as "Love is actually the choice one makes to put someone's wishes, desires and needs above our own. Many people confuse the word love with the meaning of the word want or desire." Another person says she loves him "because of his physical appearance, statues, mentality and his ability to make me feel good and important." So is this what love is about, feeling good?

What about the difference between unconditional love and tough love? Is this what the young child was saying when he said there are two different types of love? Unconditional love is usually viewed as being very accepting, supporting, and forgiving, where as tough love is disciplined, authoritative, and conforming.

Another website gave steps, tips, and warning about love. At first it was funny to think of love as a step program however many of the things are view helpful.
  1. Say it! ~ Really mean it
  2. Empathize ~ Put your self in someone else's shoes
  3. Love unconditionally ~ Allow them to be themselves and accepting them as they are.
  4. Expect nothing in return!
  5. Realize it can be lost ~ How lucky you are
The first tip that they gave really hit home and it is "It does not make you a bad person to desire someone else's love, even if they do not love you. However, to truly love someone, you must let them be free. It is selfish to blame them for your feelings." This really makes you want to love more in a selfless way. Sometimes that is the hardest thing to do and I think that is why we must look to God for guideness when it could to love.

In the New Testament the word Agape is used as love. Agape is chariable, selfless, altruistic, and unconditional. It is parental love seen as creating goodness in the world, it is the way God is seen to love humanity, and it is seen as the kind of love that Christians aspire to have for one another. Now this is the kind of love I've been looking for. But how?

I think the first thing a person must do it to love themselves. In order to love another person you must know what it means to love and the is loving yourself for who you are and just loving every part of you. The next step is the most important commandment in the Bible and that is to Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength. From there you have the second commandment and that is to love your neighbor as yourself. With this of course comes the risk of getting hurt. But that is part of letting yourself fully love and trusting someone. I guess you must look from it on the other side, what if you don't love what would life be like, never loving?

Here is a quote to think about...

"Without love, life would not be worth living. With love in our lives, we are empowered beyond belief. Without love in our lives we will shrivel up and diew a slow, painful, and lonely death. Love is the very essence and core of our being. It is the energy that sustains who and what we are. Everyone in life has a deep-rooted desire to love and be loved."

So as I step back and look at the love in my life. I learn that it's ok to be in love to be head of heels for friends and for that matter people I have never met. It's only when I stop them from being themselves and who God created them to be when I need to remember God's unconditional love. For love is not met to be a want or a desire, it is something that God created for everyone to share with each other. To live and to love! For "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 or wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres." (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) And someday when I fall in love with the man God brings me I will be able to share my deepest lows, highest highs, and truly be myself in every way possible. Tell that day I will go on with life loving each and every person God bring in to my life with all my heart, mind, and soul!

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