Sunday, February 19, 2012

Understanding True Love

  You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling: Understanding True Love

By: Rachel Crall

Love is a topic that never goes stale.  Much has been written on this subject yet people always seem to have more to say.  Libraries are full of books on love.  Songs of all genres contain an overwhelming focus on love.  I cannot recall a magazine cover in the checkout isle void of some reference to love secrets, tricks, or trips. The web has countless links to advice and  statistics regarding this matter.  Dozens of dating services promise to lead one to love's doorstep. In fact, this service can be tailored to filter by age, religion, hobbies, and the like.  Looking to find love with a Jewish plumber who likes the opera?  Have no fear as your soul mate is just a few clicks away.  
But for all this information, why is it that we have such a hard time knowing if we have found love?  At the first mention of love, our friends and family cannot resist the temptation to inform that these feeling, while closely resembling love, could not possibly be the real thing.  For some advisors, love involves some proportional relationship with time.  For example, you must have this feeling for several years before it can be considered love.  Others say that you can tell it is love the moment you meet, as if the cosmos was coming into alignment at the very moment you locked eyes with your significant others.  And of course, still others have devoted a near science to the idea that love develops into clearly definable stages.  "Puppy love:, even though it contains the word love, is not exactly love but rather a strong "like."  Perhaps there is some logic to this reference as we all love puppies because they are young and cute.  Of course, when they grow up, they are not so lovable and keeping up with their needs can be a burden.  A "crush" is something similar I assume, although I am not sure how one would attach such an undesirable word to a positive feeling. Being crushed or crushing someone else is not foremost on my mind when thinking of love although this word often comes up when love has gone bad.  Perhaps a crush is simply a foretelling of what is to come. 
When thinking about love, I may have come across the reason the Greeks are having so much economic trouble.  Experts say Greece has too many government financial safeguards which is costing the people more than they can afford.  While I am no expert, I am inclined to agree since the Greeks also have far too many words which they use to ensure they communicate precisely what they intend. For example, in the USA, we have one word for love: love.  It is up to the individual to discern the strength of this word.  We say we love our cats, televisions, sports teams, grandparents, and our kids. We also love certain shampoos, movies, ice cream, and deodorant.  But which ones do we really love and which ones do we just "like?"  How does one know which "loves" come out on top and which ones are at the bottom?  This is the problem with just one word as it leaves us needing more information.  However, the Greeks do not have this problem for they have at least six words for love as depicted in the chart below. So, if I was Greek, I might have a Pragma love for my shampoo, a Storge love for my grandparents, and a Mania love for my sports team.  Problem solved.  While understanding Greek interpretations of love might be a hobby for some, it is essential for understanding the Christian Biblical teachings on this subject since the New Testament was originally written in koine or common Greek.      
Love has and will likely always continue to be viewed in a cultural context meaning that definitions are subject to change.  Looking through a Western lens, love has evolved from something once considered rare and permanent, to something temporal and fleeting.  Today, people are said to fall in and out of love with marriages lasting only months instead of decades. This is due to how society has evolved from love being something one gives to something one gets.  People tend to enjoy the "feeling" of being in love meaning that they enjoy being loved.  But this is not the way it was from the beginning.  God, the author of love, paints a very different picture as evidenced in the following scripture: 
1 Cor 13:4-8a: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8 Love never fails….                    

Notice that this form of love, Agape or sacrificial, is selfless in every way.  There are no conditions, no small print, and no exclusions.  This is the kind of love that God has for us.  To further demonstrate the love God has for us, Jesus Christ summed up the greatest commandments and it should be no surprise that love was center stage.

Matthew 22:34-40: 34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Again, love is measured by what one gives and not what one gets.  Imagine what this world would be like if we all gave such unconditional love to each other. If we did, Hall and Oats might have had to look for a different hit song since they would not have lost that "lovin' feeling."  

                                                              Hall and Oats - Lovin' Feeling
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1 comment:

  1. I also wrote about love, i agree with you when you said that love has and always will be viewed in a cultural context. I also agree with you when you said that love is measured by what one gives and not what one gets.I really enjoyed reading your post,I learned a lot from reading it.I also agree that
    today marriages last only months instead of decades,i agree that this is because society has evolved from love being something one gives to something one gets.(Desiree' Cole Group 2)