This post is more of a thought than anything else. Usually I am sharing about myself or raising concern about life and the world in which we live. But this post is more theological than anything else. As I think about love and how many people talk about it, sing about it, and write about it. I began to think about it. To think about how we learn to love.
Many of us were raised in households that had special ways of expressing love either through correction, giving gifts, spending time, playing games, eating meals, deep conversation, family trips, etc. In the religious world many believe that love is an innate feeling, emotion, or principle we all have. If this is true then why do we all love differently? Why is it that people have fallen in love with the book the “Five Love Languages” (of which I am sure there are at least 100 more.)
If this innate world religious love is expressed through us all then why do we have religious people killing others who think differently than them? Why are so many Christian leaders filled with so much hate and resentment against people with different political views? Why is peace not the way of religion? I believe the answer is because we have searched for this internal love inside ourselves.
As we search for an internal love, our external world continues to be filled with hate, despair, hurt, poverty, blame, dissentions, factions, and most of this is fueled by people who claim religious persuasion.
Many religious expressions and even many Christian denominations place the loving of neighbor and the loving of self solely in the heart and hands of the person. But because of life circumstances and situations, we as people often become callous and it becomes difficult to love ourselves and others. But it is through a renewed life in Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit that we are granted grace. Grace then allows us to forgive ourselves and others, in order to move towards that ultimate love towards ourselves and others. Until we can see, understand, and accept the power of God’s love through the sacrifice of Christ, as humans, we will continue to struggle with loving ourselves and others.
This is why Paul, in Phil. 2:5-8, encourages us to:
“5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
We can’t look inside ourselves to find this love, as some religious scholars might think. But we must look a the heart of God, as represented in the mind and actions of Christ. The more we learn about God’s love toward us and our world, and as we grow in our relationship with God; the more healing we will find in ourselves which will allow God’s love to shine in and through us.
Love is the principle thing, but whose example of love will we follow? The love of Christ or the love represented in our world?
1 Corinthians 13:1-5 “3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 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.”