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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Modern Love, Pt. 1

'Here we go again!'

'A divorced man is gonna tell us what love is?!'

Well, yes and no. I've written a number of times before that love is not a feeling, but an action, and still, we are bombarded by the notion, from all sides, that love is just an 'ooey-gooey' feeling. I'm divorced because my ex-wife thought it was this sort of feeling, and she 'just didn't love me anymore'! ( well, that's part of the reason, anyway ) Acting in love toward someone can certainly lead to those 'ooey-gooey' feelings, and in fact, in some haphazard way are sometimes a result of them, don't get me wrong!

However, as we've discussed previously, feelings can change, so when your love is based upon those warm and changeable feelings, guess what happens to the love? It dries up and blows away!

Love in action, based upon God's Word ( and here I'm speaking of God's Incarnate Word, not the Bible, or even Scripture ) will last through the changing of the seasons, and usually even prevents the seasons from changing, because, as we mentioned, active love usually leads to that warm feeling that is more commonly and popularly known as love!

Sometimes love, even active love, seems to have a breaking point. In the case of divorce, especially, we'd like to believe that we tried to love our ex-spouse, but that we could only love so far before we reached the breaking point, and stopped loving that person. One might question though, if the professed love in action was genuine, or if it too, was based on feelings.

Our English Bible tells us that 'love suffers long, and is kind; love does not envy.....................does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil.............' ( I Corinthians 13:4 & 5 ) Further on in this same chapter, we read that 'love is the fulfillment of the Law' The same author, in his letter to the Galatians ( 5:14 ) wrote, 'all the Law is fulfilled in one word, even this, 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself'.

To learn what this means, 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself', we must go back to the Hebrew Scriptures, or the Old Testament of our English Bible. It is here where Jesus drew His famous summation of the Law in Matthew 22:37-40. When the Pharisees asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, Jesus responded that the first was to love God 'with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind ( Mark adds here, 'and with all your strength' )', and that a second was like it, 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself'. These words are further expanded in the famous 'Ten Commandments', found in Exodus 20. The first half of these 'Ten Words' are about how to properly show our love for God, and the second half is about showing love to our neighbor. As Jesus said at the end of the parallel passage in Mark's Gospel ( 12:29-31 ), 'there is no other commandment greater than these'!

With these words hidden in our heart, we should see that love needs to be active or it is not love at all!  'Is it enough, though to hide these words in our heart'? How many men like me and women out there have lost their love toward their spouse because, for whatever reason, their feelings changed, they 'just don't love him/her anymore', and a divorce occurs?

As we have sat under the ministrations of the two teaching elders in our congregation over the past number of years, 'The Abiding Love of God' has ever been impressed upon our minds! God set the pattern for us as spouses. In the prophecy of Hosea, we read abut the wife that the prophet was commanded to take, and then how she left him for a time, after which he eventually reconciled with her, even though she had defiled herself with other men. It's really quite an inspiring story!

We often feel  very warmly towards those we love, and sometimes we're downright passionate about it! I'm not saying that we shouldn't admit these feelings, or that we should stifle them in any way! All I'm saying, as I've said before, is that these feelings shouldn't rule our love for that person, because there are times that we would rather not even be around the one we love.

Feelings are kind of funny that way, they seem to change like the weather!

Charles Haddon Shank

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