What is love?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Helen, Apr 5, 2006.

  1. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    This was suggested as a new thread. So, great.

    Here is what I taught my teen classes and my own kids.

    Love has emotions connected to it, but it, itself is not an emotion. It is a conscious, volitional decision to care for someone at least as much as you care for yourself and sometimes more. It is a choice you make to put someone else ahead of you in your life.

    A comet is an interesting picture of love. It's all bright and fiery on the outside, and lovely to look at, but the inside is rock and ice: caring and commitment. All that outside stuff is the emotions that come along with it.

    Love doesn't always feel good. We read in the Bible that God so loved the world He gave His one and only Son. How did the Father feel when the Son was being mocked, scourged, and then nailed to an instrument of torture? It probably wasn't 'good'! How does a mother feel when she gets up to a sick child for the fourth time at night, desperately tired herself? Not good. But deeply caring. Deeply commited.

    We are not talking here about sex, although in married love that is a wonderful expression of the love. By itself sex is not love, even though they call it 'making love.'

    To love someone, to commit to them, to care for them, is a choice you make. If it came naturally, then we would not have to be reminded in the Bible to love God and love our neighbor. Men would not have to be reminded to love their wives. Love -- real love -- is not a natural reaction, even of a mother for a child. If it were, no mothers would abandon or hurt their children. But even a mother and a father have to choose to commit themselves to their children. Some don't.

    It's even harder to really commit to someone who is 'just a neighbor.' But we are commanded to do that. We are commanded to care for the people around us as much as we care for ourselves. We can obey or not obey. Our choice.

    In the long run, though, real love can only come from God and only be expressed by us human beings when we are indwelt by God. Really loving someone takes more strength and endurance and care than we have on our own. So if you want to really love, and really know what love is, you have to choose God first. You have to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and HIS righteousness (which is Christ), and He has promised that everything else we need will be added unto that.

    And we all need to love and to be loved.

    That's what I told my kids and my students.
     
  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,208
    Likes Received:
    192
    Lovely essay, Helen. [​IMG]

    I agree with your definition, especially when you say, "To love someone, to commit to them, to care for them, is a choice you make." This is my definition of agape, as well.

    C. S. Lewis, whether one agrees with him on some things or not, provokes one to thought. He wrote a fascinating little book, The Four Loves, in which he points out that the Greeks had four words for love. However, the definitions here are mine, not Lewis's.

    1. Philos is the love of friendship. It occurs often in the NT. It is mutual; that is, your love for a friend depends on the friend's love for you. It is based on mutual interests and activity. Sometimes this word is even used of God's love for us.

    2. Storge is natural love. It occurs only in compounds in the NT, such as in "without natural affection" (Rom. 1:31). This explains the cruel mother Helen mentioned above. "Brotherly love" in Rom. 12:10 is another mention of natural love.

    3. Eros is the Greek word for romantic love or desire, but this word does not occur in the NT.

    4. Agape is the word used for God's love in the Bible, and as Helen said it is a love of choice. God loved us in spite of our sin, because He chose to! Interestingly enough, this word originally meant something like "entertain" (not necessarily in a good way). My classical Greek dictionary (Liddel and Scott) gives this meaning for the verb form: "to welcome, entertain." But the NT writers redefined it to mean God's wonderful, unconditional love! [​IMG]
     
  3. J.D.

    J.D.
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2006
    Messages:
    3,553
    Likes Received:
    8
    I believe that to say "love is a decision" is way to shallow. Isn't decisions an activity of the mind, and love is an activity of the heart?
     
  4. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    328
    Mind and heart are basically the same in the Bible . God set His love upon His own unconditionally .
     
  5. DeeJay

    DeeJay
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    1,916
    Likes Received:
    0
    I beleve love is an action not a fuzzy feeling.

    The Bible says love your enemy and love your neighbor. I could never seem to generate those fuzzy feelings for people who hate me and people who I dont even know. I wondered what was wrong.

    The problem love is an action not a feeling. Love your neighbor is stoping to help somebody change a tire on the side of the road or raking somebodys leafs. You can try to feel love for somebody but they are still stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire.

    This also solves the problem of how does God hate sinners and love all the world. He hates sinners but he still sent His Son to die for us (an action).

    Do something needed and nice for somebody you do not know, or somebody you do anonomosly (sp?) this week. LOVE your neighbor.
     
  6. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,208
    Likes Received:
    192
    J.D., think about it. A genuine decision is not shallow at all. It can change your entire life, turn it upside down! How can that be shallow?
     
  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,208
    Likes Received:
    192
    DeeJay, I agree that God's love is not a feeling. But you don't stop to help someone change a tire by the side of the road without having decided at some time in your life that if you ever get the chance you will do that. Decisions produce action. What you believe decides what you do, as the book of James clearly teaches.
     
  8. DeeJay

    DeeJay
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    1,916
    Likes Received:
    0
    Absolutly agree.

    What I am getting at is that you do not have to feel emotion for the person. That was a hang up for me when I understood the word love as a feeling. You dont even have to like the person you are helping. You may dislike the person intensly but by changing the tire you are loving them.

    You have to make the decision to help. But if you decide to help people change tires on the side of the road then pass them by it is not love. You have to make the decition to help then carry though on your decition and actually change a tire.

    I have at times past decided I was going to do something then chickened out when the oppertunity presented itself. I decided to love somebody but dident when the time came.
     
  9. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,208
    Likes Received:
    192
    Okay, I see where you are coming from. [​IMG]
     
  10. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    If, then, love is a choice, a decision, we cannot make that choice if we have no choices -- no real choices -- can we?
     
  11. Frenchy

    Frenchy
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Messages:
    796
    Likes Received:
    0
    Very good article Helen. I sure hope these kids learn from this leason and am glad someone like you is willing to teach it
     
  12. Frenchy

    Frenchy
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Messages:
    796
    Likes Received:
    0
    I see someone already thought of this, great !

     
  13. Frenchy

    Frenchy
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Messages:
    796
    Likes Received:
    0
    You would think that would make sense for your debate on free will. but you forget God's LOVE is greater than our love (he can't choose to love for he IS Love), and his WAYS are greater than our ways, and his THOUGHTS are greater than our thoughts.

    He even loves the sinner Romans 5:8 "for while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" John 3:16 "for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son" etc., he didn't choose to love the sinner he did so because it was his NATURE it is WHO he is.

    And just because he chose some to be saved and others not to be, doesn't mean he doesn't love them any less or us any more. Just means he is God and can do what he wants, for his ways are not our ways and his thoughts not our thoughts.

    If God chose us before the foundations of the world for his purpose and good pleasure and not others, does that mean God is no longer LOVE or that he didn't love those going to Hell, by no means! why can't you just accept that this is a paridox a mystery. just like you cannot explain the trinity neither will you be able to explain God choosing who he wants for all eternity.

    Why do christians insist on bringing God down to their level of thinking and not just accept what his word has to say. is this not what the heathen does
     
  14. Frenchy

    Frenchy
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Messages:
    796
    Likes Received:
    0
    Now Helen let's look at mans side of it. Do not equate man's accepting the gift of salvation for his LOVE for God. Man's "love" for God comes after salvation when he realizes all that God has done for him. After he is regenerated.
    God draws man to himself through the work of the Holy Spirit, it is man who accepts the offer of salvation because of the Holy Spirit, and it is the Holy Spirit that regenerates a new life. all is the work of God's love. now that man has received that love he is to now LOVE back. Jesus said "if you love me you will obey me."

    Only a few passages talk about man's response of love toward God John 21:15-17, I Pet. 1:8, I John 5:2, I John 4:20-21. The references to man's love toward God are few possibly because it would seem normal for man to love God, who has done so much for him, and because man has experienced God's love. I am not sure where this verse is but didn't Jesus say that "he who is forgiven much loves much".

    Like I mentioned before our freewill-choice is in play before and after salvation but the gift and the abilty to receive salvation all comes from God not our will.
     
  15. DeeJay

    DeeJay
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    1,916
    Likes Received:
    0
    French

    I believe the love is an action (doing something) not a fuzzy feeling. How did God love those he did not choose to be saved. What action did he do for them.

    Or is love a fuzzy feeling? Are you saying God had "love feelings" for those he did not choose and therfore sent hell with out chance for redemption.

    When God says love your neighbor, is it good enough to just have feelings for them while doing nothing?
     
  16. bapmom

    bapmom
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2005
    Messages:
    3,091
    Likes Received:
    0
    "God is love" means He does what is best for His creation, even if we don't like it, even if it causes Him "inconvenience"(like laying aside His own glory), even if we get mad at Him for it, and even if we are His enemy at the time.
     
  17. DeeJay

    DeeJay
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    1,916
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gods great act of love was to lay down His life to save us.

    Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
    John 15:13

    Now if french is right and God loves the
    un-chosen, what was His act of love for them.
     
  18. npetreley

    npetreley
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    Messages:
    7,359
    Likes Received:
    0
    Love is never having to say you're sorry.

    Okay, that's not only the most stupid definition I've ever seen, it has NEVER made any sense to me whatsoever.
     
  19. Bluefalcon

    Bluefalcon
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Messages:
    914
    Likes Received:
    4
    It would certainly be better never to have been created than to have been created and not given the chance to be chosen. An eternity of damnation in hellfire is not as good as the absence of existence in the first place.
     
  20. npetreley

    npetreley
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    Messages:
    7,359
    Likes Received:
    0
    "A chance to be chosen"?

    By the way, one problem with your reasoning is that it comes from the perspective of a saved person.
     

Share This Page

Loading...