Skip to comments.A Desperately Needed Definition
Posted on 02/27/2008 2:52:03 PM PST by DBCJR
Most of us know we're supposed to love others. Christians, who read the Bible and/or attend church, regularly encounter reminders regarding this. Still, the meaning of the term itself appears to remain unclear.
Confusion comes because "love" can describe a feeling or it can describe an action. Complicating matters more, the feeling and the action which love seeks to describe need not be remotely connected to the same subject or event.
For instance, my wife and I once saw an elderly woman pushing a shopping cart down a street near our home. The cart was obviously loaded with all her earthly belongings. We both felt concern for her and pity for her circumstance. We wondered how we could help, if we could help. We drove home and loaded a bag with some edibles, got back in our car and drove in the direction she was headed. We found her, talked with her, confirmed that she was a homeless person on the move, suggested a shelter which she refused, and gave her our small sack. Now, what we did for that lady was, in my understanding, loving her. But, did I feel love for that lady? Not that I would recognize. I just felt sorry for her.
Now, for a contrast to this experience with a homeless lady, look at my love of butter pecan ice cream. I absolutely love it! In spite of the fact that a doctor might tell me that butter pecan ice cream is an enemy (to my health), I will have no trouble loving this enemy. Will Jesus be pleased?
When I speak of love for this ice cream, I am revealing my abiding affection or desire for it. This is the kind of love to which our use of the word "love" too often refers. Even in the relational sense of its use, we are often expressing some kind of fond feeling or notable desire for the one "loved." Thus, we relate to the things we love in one way, and the things we don't love in another.
The biblical concept of love calls us beyond feelings. It calls us to act in a manner which warrants this word. Butter pecan ice cream has never irritated me like my wife or my kids have. Therefore, I have a different challenge loving these people than I have with this ice cream. To love my wife and my children requires me to act in ways, consistent with love, in absence of "loving feelings", even in the presence of contrary feelings.
Most of us are very familiar with John 3:16 ; though just as important, 1 John 3:16 may be less familiar. It defines God's kind of love. Here it is: " 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." Nothing is said about feelings here. It's about acting in a particular manner lovingly.
When I married my wife I wondered: How do I love her parents? I concluded that I could love them best by treating their daughter well. Affections grew over the years, but I began by acting in loving ways related to them directly and indirectly.
If we are to love as God wants, we should begin with a solid definition, one rooted in actions rather than feelings. Thank God for feelings of love. But let's honor God with the actions of love.
The definition is in John 14:21, 1 John 5:2,3
>oh, I forgot to mention Im a guy
You didn’t have to. 8^) Thanks for the chuckle.
Some say love, it is a river...
Love is like oxygen
You get too much you get too high
Not enough and you’re gonna die
What the man felt for the homeless lady in this story was compassion. Love is when the other person’s well-being matters more than your own.
I gather you are of the male gender? :-)
I should have read down one more posting before I posted. LOL!
I think no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to give that kind of love.
I’ve taught my kids that love is putting the needs, interests and desires of someone else ahead of your own. It is not a mushy gushy feeling and it is not limited to sexual intercourse.
Look up the definitions of agape and eros. You might find the answer there.