Outside the Christian definition of love… Christ IS love… I will address that briefly at the end. I have had the thought of that little four letter word…love… on my mind all morning. Then of course as it should be Pandora delivered me a string of songs discussing love in various aspects when I opened my computer and it played for me without prompt.
Let’s look at affection and warm-heartedness. This really brings inner strength and self-confidence, reduces fear, develops trust, and trust as we all know brings friendship. We are social beings, and cooperation in community is necessary for our very survival, but cooperation within our communities is entirely based on trust besides a few other important ingredients. When there is trust, people are brought together—whole nations are brought together. Is that not one of the most complicated gifts to give others besides our love…trust. Character is about trust, isn’t it? …being honest and trustworthy is at the heart of all the best loving relationships or is it?
How do we feel about Old Willy’s words? Do we agree or is there more than this?
Keeping this quote in mind I have to turn to the words of C.S. Lewis on this matter… I feel he has possibly embraced a deeper understanding of this state…
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
Lewis’s words cut me so deeply… piercing straight through my highly guarded heart. These words provoke great reflection on my part…what am I doing in relationships with those I encounter? How am I handling loving others and allowing them to love me in return despite the risk while often times disregarding the potential reward due to being too focused on the unwanted negative consequences that are possible. All I can say here is wow just OH WOW… I took a moment and asked a few individuals their thoughts on Mr. Lewis’s words and here is what I found…
To quote a man I thoroughly enjoy insight from…
Love. Love is scary. Love is amazing. Love is necessary. Love is required. To love someone is to open yourself up from your core. It doesn’t happen all at once, but in time your core becomes truly open to another person. Loving someone is one thing, letting someone else really love you is another. Once you’ve cracked the door to your core the other person can come in a ruin everything or they can make it all better by their presence. You can’t control what they do once they’re in. I think that is what Mr. Lewis is saying by being vulnerable. That being said, you have the right to create healthy boundaries. I think it was Andy Stanley who said something to the effect of “Anyone can come onto my porch. A few can come into my living room. But very few can come into my kitchen.” Love is spelled “RISK.” Love and trust must go hand in hand. –Bobby Shirley
We, as a skittish people, do not want take a RISK… we desire reward…we run from risk often but there is a greater reward when risk is embraced and the consequences are love. On a simple human level we are all equal. We most often have the same basic desires all innately wrapped in our DNA. I think as a community we are missing something precious…encouraging the cultivation of inner values and a sense of concern for others’ well being. What do we believe when it comes to truly loving someone else? Do the three words “I love you” equal “I trust you”…? Love is the uplifting experience of joy, commitment, contentment, delight, comfort, security, and abandon. Love is not the painful experience of fear, doubt, suspicion, jealousy, obsession, and attachment. More than anything else, I think the highest expression of true love is trust. We have negative experiences when loving others but they do not define love. Real love demands sacrifice that can’t be found in self-centeredness. I believe love can only be understood from the actions it prompts. We are all searching for fullfillment… for connection… to not be invisible and alone but leave a legacy or change behind when we are no longer.
Just a few last thoughts before I close with a view of what love is from the oldest perspective…
I believe we have to love like we will lose if we do not. I cannot take for granted those I love because I never know when I will run out of time. Life is fragile and short. Picturing the value of those around us is enough to compel me to want to love deeper and leap into that risk instead of do what my nature tells me and tip-toe around it. There is nothing in life but risk and reward… sometimes the reward for our risk taking is a negative consequence and that puts us off of trying easily but we have to have grit and a deeper determination to seek out what we are made for with a refusal to give up on ourselves and others. When we express love, we develop a strong emotional attachment, anticipating our love to be returned… sometimes it’s not and that’s painful but it doesn’t negate our actions.
A recent guest blogger stated….
John wrote that perfect love drives out fear. We can’t hold on to our fear and love at the same time. The use of the term casket, in this quote, is the most accurate description of someone who chooses their fear and selfishness over real love. There is an emptiness that happens inside of us when we are too afraid to be vulnerable to someone else. A death truly does occur inside of us when we live without love. We also lose the very thing we desire, to be loved, when we close ourselves off from everyone else. The casket created to protect us from harm, becomes the very thing that hurts us the most. Love is vulnerable, but it is also freeing. It frees us to be everything that we were created to be, and to receive everything we really desire. -Holly Noelle
Coming back to the “Christian” perspective of love, we must identify…
What is Love – God’s Nature
In a response to, “What is Love?” it is erroneous to say “love is God.” God created love, not the reverse. He deliberately chose to express His love to us — revealing the very nature of God Himself.
- God Is Sacrificial – God initiated an eternal love relationship with us before we loved Him (1 John 4:10).
- God Is Merciful – God extended the wealth of His kindness even when we were undeserving of His love (Ephesians 2:4-5).
- God Is Faithful – Even in the most extreme circumstances, God’s love for us remains secure (Romans 8:35, 38-39).
God did not need to create the universe. He made that choice as an expression of His ultimate love for us. Then God created us a certain way — to experience all that perfect love was meant to be (Song of Songs 4:9-10; 8:6; 1 John 4:7-12).
Being created in the image of the Creator compells us to connection because we are a reflection of Him and He desires fellowship constantly…connection constantly.