Friday, November 14, 2008

The Real Love

Author's note: I'll really appreciate if you can bear with my draggy sentences and detoured meanings...Bear with me please...


All of us know about inclinational love; which is love in friendship and romantic love... This type love is a love of passion, a love of feelings and a love of emotion... However, I have come to know of another 'new' type of love; love that is not based on inclination, passion, feelings, or emotion... Love that is unchanging and more Christ-like...It is love for your neighbors - the commanded love...

Many of us would think that the command to love our neighbors is more like a 'guideline' that describes how we ought to treat everyone (as we want to be treated)....In fact, I myself have thought so before... And when I say that this love, the commanded love, is greater than the love of choice and inclination that we feel for loved ones, we would very quickly feel threatened... We would feel as if the love we have inside us, our very capacity to love, is being attacked by something vague and philosophical. We seem to have an easier time with the manifestation of love that is based on our preferences than with the command to love our neighbor...My proposal is the reverse: that love for one's neighbor is actually threatened by love based upon inclination...


But in the first place, how is the command to love our neighbors greater than romantic and friendship love? In every way I would say...

Romantic and friendship love is based on favoritism and preference: to love this single human being above all others, to love him in distinction from all others...
On the other hand, the christian teaching is to love one’s neighbor, to love all mankind, even enemies, and not to make exceptions, neither in favoritism nor in aversion...

And love that is bound by favoritism (romantic and friendship love) is not free love. It is forever trapped in that it constantly needs to establish itself more securely, which it attempts via testing itself. Our love for loved one's is always battling jealousy and swearing its devotion. This anxiety of inclinational love is rooted in its need to make a test of the love. Tests are taken in order to inspect the possibility that what is tested might fail....
For love to be free and unchanging it must be free of tests, else jealousy and anxiety will limit the love. therefore, only when it is a duty to love (loving our neighbors), when we must love, is love secure against change and free in its independence from emotion and feeling....

Inclinational and love are essentially self-feeling, it is the emotion of the self being intoxicated in the other, and become one selfish unit. They have confused loved with possession of the beloved. Love has become dependent upon its reciprocation. Further, these two love one another in virtue of likeness or in virtue of the difference they experience in the world around them. What challenge is this? It is a simple task to like what i like, to love what i love....
How much greater a love to love everyone, in spite of difference and in spite of a seemingly natural preferential love....


So then, should we then reject all romantic and friendship connections? No! Instead do this – take away distinctions and similarities of distinctions – so that you can love your neighbor. But you are not to cease loving the beloved because of this. Love your beloved faithfully and tenderly, but let love to your neighbor be the sanctifier in your covenant of union with God; love your friend honestly and devotedly, but let love to your neighbor be what you learn from each other in the intimacy of friendship with God!

I'll end with these four:

Inclinational love preference is the middle term, the term that binds; in love to one's neighbor God is the middle term.

Death erases all distinctions, but preference is always related to distinctions (i.e. death erases romantic love and friendship as they are based on preference) ; yet the way to life and to the eternal goes through death and through the extinction of distinctions. Therefore only love to one’s neighbor truly leads to life (i.e. love for our neighbors overcomes death)

Many will view the idea of loving our neighbors as very dull and stale, even dead, because it seems to lack what we value so highly in love, the emotion and passion. Yet the issue here is that we have grown to a place where we value the passion too highly, where the desire to feel and to feel strongly has superseded the desire to love as Christ loved. What is greater, to love as God has commanded, or to burn with passion (even righteous passion)?

Give up all demands - especially the happiness of romantic love and friendship - in order to understand what an enormous demand God and the eternal make upon one himself. He who will receive this understanding is ready to love his neighbor...


Giving up our preferences - especially to those we find really attractive - is really hard by ourselves...But with God, even impossible is nothing...=)


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

lol...sorry, i couldn't even bear the author's note
i know, i'm so impatient

anyway, are u talking about God's love?

also i think it's called 'agape' love

ja said...

Haha...Erm.... In a way it is 'agape' love la... but read it la...don't like that...hehe..=P

Anonymous said...

read oredi,

u still got 'neighbour' wrong, u typed 'neighbor'

ja said...

In american english it is spelled as 'neighbor' and the blogger uses it...'neighbour' will be considered wrong spelling...
It looks nice when they say 'No misspellings found'...Oh well...