Love. Feeling, emotion or choice?
As I do quite often I am pondering this question on love. I usually do this in poetry form, but I have been working through some thoughts I have had so I thought why not work through them as I write out a post. So here they are…
A definition of love is “A strong feeling or affection.” Is that all love is? A feeling? A feeling of maybe being attracted to someone? You see there are couple of thoughts looking at both the bible and life which draw me to conclude love is more than emotion, in fact it is an insult to what real love really is.
I’ll start off with a couple of life examples. I’ll start through observations of my mum and dad as I grew up. My mum and dad were married for approaching 25 years before my mum passed away. My dads favorite story of the wedding was my mum not being able to repeat the first line of the wedding vows. My mum would keep on saying “I Susan … take thee to be be my awfully wedded husband” So there is one way to start a marriage! Now my parents had their arguments, had some fights. A few instances my dad was kicked out, my mum was quite fierce in my dads defense, but what I have learned about love from their example is that it is fundamentally deeper than a feeling. It is an act of the will.
You see if love was simply a feeling my mum and dad would have only have had the one argument and they would have gone their separate ways. As you could probably imagine any kind of feeling that love is supposed to be would be greatly diminished after a fight or an argument. But no. They still loved each other. How do I know they love each other? They made their relationship work. They fixed it if it was broken. Sometimes it might have took a little bit longer but they made that conscious act of love and stayed married and together despite it all.
You see it wasn’t a feeling that done this. Feelings can’t keep anything together, they cant fix anything or mend relationships, conscious acts of the will do.
Lets take another example. A parents love for their child. Now if you are a parent or are part of a large family and there is that one person who keeps on testing your parents limits of love you may understand this. It does not matter what the child does the parent is going to defend, support, help, up lift and aid that child no matter what. The child may keep on doing the same thing, keep hurting them and others in the family but the parent is going to be there for their child. Even in extreme cases where the child has ended up leaving home and not talking to the parents, the parents will still confess that they love their child. Why? Because love is not feeling. Love may bring a feeling at times but it is not a feeling. It is so much deeper.
Now let us look at the Bible. The Bible answers this question very clearly I believe if you just think about it for a minute. You know that God commands “LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind” and love your nieghbour is another. Also in Ephesians 5 we are told that husbands should love their wives and wives should love their husbands. Now here is the question. How can God command us to have a feeling which in essence isn’t within our control? Also why did he command it if we cant choose the opposite? You see with every command comes a choice. Here the choices is to love …. or not to love …
And this is Love that God chose to send His Son, that the Son chose to come and give His life as a ransom for us. In this we have the prime example of Love. It wasn’t a wishy washy notion God had one day. He resolved to show His love and made a conscious act of the will to do so. That is love. Love which is made known and manifest. Love says “I choose to make you my priority, your joy is my goal”
So if love is a choice why is it so hard? Some people are simply hard to love. Maybe it is their character they may be too loud or too quiet. But think about all those you say you love. Think about all their idiosyncrasies and quirks. I bet they have some part of their character which is annoying, yet because of love you have chosen to not let that bother you. You see if we make the choice to love more often, to more people, things which annoy us will be less of an issue and it will, in fact, become easier to love.
Yes there will be people who you naturally love easier, maybe some family members or friends. Maybe some of them are hard to choose to love! But if you really evaluate it you love them because you choose to. You have chosen to let them be apart of your live and share in your life and you have chosen to invest in theirs. That’s apart of what love is.
Can you take this as Gospel? You will need to come to your own conclusion on that. I think the idea definitely deserves some thought. Did I make sense? I will leave that to your good judgement also. What is contained in this post are just my midnight musings about something which is so deep, so divine, yet so incredibly understood by that intangible part us which some call a soul. And that is the only place this subject can be fully understood.