Is love a feeling or a decision?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by drfuss, Feb 22, 2006.

  1. drfuss

    drfuss
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    Our Hollywood culture says love is a feeling, i.e. Falling in love, etc.

    In many cases, scripture treats love as a decision or a committment.

    Are they related? If so how?
     
  2. Johnv

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    Agape love is decision. The feelings follow the decision.

    Feelings are fickle. If we primarily followed our feelings, we'd be in big trouble. In fact part of adulthood is learning how to control one's feelings, and how to not make decisions based on them.
     
  3. Helen

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    The way I explained it to my kids (my family and my students as well) was that love was like a comet: what you see is not what is inside. Inside is rock and ice: caring and commitment. A decision to consider someone before you consider yourself, or at least with the same concern you give yourself.

    But what we see is the fiery outside and beautiful 'tail'. The emotions are all round love -- they come with the territory. But they are not all positive emotions -- ask any mother who gets up to a child for the umpteenth time in the middle of the night despite her own exhaustion. She is not thrilled; but she has committed to the child.

    God was not thrilled to see Christ upon the Cross. But He did it for love. He cared and was committed to us.

    You can be furious with your teen for rebellion. But you are furious because you love him or her and want the best for them!

    Love is not emotions. But it sure gets surrounded by them!
     
  4. Scott J

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    Not only "a" decision but a consistency of decisions constituting an attitude.

    Attitudes determine actions.

    John is correct. Feelings follow genuine love... they don't precede it.
     
  5. JRG39402

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    Love is an action verb and you have to make the decision to do it. God made the decision to love the unloveable.
     
  6. drfuss

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    Then what actually happens when someone "Falls in Love" of "love at first sight"?
     
  7. Priscilla Ann

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    "Love at first sight" is a feeling...feeling drawn to each other. Many times it's the thing that first draws a couple together. However, if that "feeling" is not followed by commitment, the relationship is doomed. I remember the early years of our marriage. When the kids are sick, the dryer breaks down, and the bills are piling up, you aren't feeling really "in love", but if you are commited to each other and your life together, you choose to love and support your spouse during those times. Ultimately, commitment draws you closer and enables you to build a relationship that will endure.
     
  8. Benjamin

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    I think the Hollyweird culture confuses love with lust. Love is seen in a giving action much like when God gave His only Begotten that we could see how much He loved us and He wants us to return that action in love for Him and one another. Love at first sight? I would say it better explained chemistry at first sight; that would be some pretty shallow love, love goes much deeper than that. God’s great gift of love was given to us even though we didn’t deserve it; we are pretty sorry at returning love whether for Him or one another as we attach all kinds of things in with it, but it should be a freely given humble commitment. God gives us many instructions on how to be blessed within love and doing things His way is the best way to know the depth and blessing of true love.
     
  9. AresMan

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    I define love as a decision that will necessarily generate feelings based upon the nature of the decision.

    You can love your spouse by deciding to provide for, give gifts to, and support unconditionally your spouse. Your spouse will appreciate this undeserved favor and will return the same. The benefits of unconditional love will naturally cause strong feelings due to trust, dedication, and security.
     
  10. mountainrun

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    Love at first sight has been determined to be a chemical reaction.
    This was in the news a week or so ago.

    I believe love is verb, not a feeling.

    MR
     
  11. John of Japan

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    Actually, the Greek language of the original NT had four kinds of love. First of all is "eros," the love of romance. This word does not appear at all in the Greek NT. It is strictly a love of emotion, as Priscilla Ann eloquently said. Ever choose to fall in romantic love with someone? I thought not! ;)

    Secondly, "Storge" (appearing only in compounds) is natural love, such as you have towards your siblings. It just happens! But of course at times you have to choose to love them! :D

    The third is "philos," the love of friendship. You choose to love a friend. You become friends with someone when you find out you have common interests, and you choose to spend your time with them doing those activities you both like.

    Finally we have "agape," which until the NT redefined it was similar in meaning to "eros," believe it or not. "Agape," as Johnv pointed out, is a decision. "For God so loved the world...," not because of anything beautiful in us, since we are all wicked sinners before Him. God made a wonderful decision in eternity past to love us and give His own Son for us. "Herein is agape, not that we love God, but that He loved us, and gave His son to be the propitiation for our sins"
    (1 John 4:10).

    (To those nice gentlemen who taught me the Greek fonts for the BB, I didn't have time to look them up. It is almost bedtime here in Japan--insert yawning Japanese happy face here of your choosing.)
     
  12. Johnv

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    Those are physical feelings. Nothing wrong with that, so long as they're kept in check. For example, if you "fall in love" with a person who turns out to be a drug abuser and cheats on you, would you stay with him based on feelings? Many will, out of stupidity. Stupidity, in this case, is refusing to put the facts ahead of the feelings. Dr Laura would have a thing or two to say to a woman who does that.
     
  13. Brother Ian

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    Love is a decision.
     
  14. Johnv

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    Exactly. When I married my wife, I promised to love her. I didn't promise to feel someting, I promised to do something.
     
  15. gb93433

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    Several years ago Walter Trobisch wrote the book Love Is a Feeling to Be Learned.

    "Love is a feeling to be learned.
    It is anxiety and contentment.
    It is deep yearning and hostility.
    It is pleasure and it is pain.
    There is not one without the other.
    Happiness is only a part of love.
    Suffering belongs to love also.
    This is the mystery of love,
    its beauty and its burden."

    "Love is a feeling to be learned."
     
  16. John of Japan

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    I read that book when I was young and wondering, gb93433. It's a good one.
     
  17. DeeJay

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    [​IMG]

    I second this. Love is an action not a feeling. That is why we can love our enemys and others we dont like. Like if I mow my mother-in-laws lawn. That is why God can hate sinners and still love the world.

    God so loved the world, by the action of, sending his only son.

    Thank you God for taking action to save us.
     

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