Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love... {A Valentine's Day Conversation}


Love… A many splendored thing…

But what is our true capacity for it? Can we love like Christ calls us to, or are we stuck loving at our level, which is tainted by greed, ego and other worldly mindsets?

I grapple with this question and although I falter in how I display love at times, I strive for loving all people I encounter with Agape.

Wait. What’s that? Well, Agape is the love God has for us. The kind of love that never changes or alters no matter what the other party does. It’s the kind of love that allows God to forget our sins once we come to Him in repentance and ask for forgiveness. Thomas Jay Oord has defined agape as "an intentional response to promote well-being when responding to that which has generated ill-being.” It’s the MOST difficult love to display, mostly because you have to check your ego and know that most of the times when people do things to you, it has everything to do with them and little to do with you. Loving this way is the most affirming of our duty to love each other as we love ourselves. I mean think about it. How many times a day do we offend others and expect or elicit forgiveness. Think about how many times we offend God, elicit and expect forgiveness, then think about the times we actually give it to others. Doesn’t add up does it?

I had a conversation with a friend of mine who asked me what I thought my capacity for love was – I said a 9. I was thinking of all of these combined, he on the other hand was talking about Agape! -_-
I don’t know what my capacity for Agape is to be honest. I know that I attempt to check my ego and love people through whatever hurt I feel they inflicted on me but I also know that it has taken me many heartaches and hurts to reach the place where I felt that I couldn’t bear to throw away another relationship or at least I couldn’t carry the burden of unforgiveness and pain any longer. I told him that my heart had been broken and cracked open so that I could learn how to love this way. I refused to become bitter and instead chose love. 

Love despite, love instead, love covers a multitude of sins. 

I also told him that there were deal breakers from which I believed a relationship could not recover or at the very least remain the same. One for me is lying. I abhor it! It irks me to my depths to be lied to! 

I can handle the truth!

Initially, we had to agree to disagree, he felt like a person is only able to forgive according to the depth of their love for the other person and that being lied to, is small in comparison to some things that he'd heard of marriages surviving! Then he told me a story about how a married man had three daughters all within weeks of one another and that at one point in time, one of the women and their daughter came to live with him and his wife because the mother fell ill and couldn't care for herself!

Yes, you read that right. ONE of the MISTRESSES came to live with the WIFE and his FAMILY in ONE HOUSE, under ONE ROOF.

Umm... Excuse me. What? 0_o

When the daughter of the husband and wife asked her mother how did she endure all of that and what made her stay, the woman's only response was, "I love him."

NOW THAT'S THAT REAAAALLLLLL LOVE!!!!!!!

And its also forgiveness in action. 

I can't tell a lie, I want a love like that. One where there is no doubt in my mind that I am staying with my husband through thick and thin and forgive like that.... 

My friend may be the one to make me feel like that...

Well, I know you are probably wondering why I am talking about forgiveness when this is Valentine’s Day and I am supposed to be talking about love… Love and forgiveness are two sides of the same coin. They cannot be extracted from one another. Being human we are bound to fail in some aspect of our relations with one another, but in order to maintain the relationships that we have, we must forgive the smallest slights and the largest hurts as if they never happened to begin with.

BOOM! Never happened!?

Wait. You didn't do what I saw you did and we discussed it and am still hurting over it but...

I have to forgive you like I didn't see it and I am not hurting?

That’s crazy right? I mean who can do that but Christ!? He did say that we would be able to do what He did and more, so I am thinking if we start with one of the most pivotal commandments He gave – “Love one another. As I have loved you.” John 13:34.

Okay… I’m off that… LOL But, perhaps you weren’t aware that there were two other types of love as well: Philia and Eros. I think we are all aware of these in practice as these are the two types of love we most to one another brotherly or family love and erotic or romantic love. Eros is the one most of us are familiar with in popular culture and is the one that Valentine’s Day markets to us the most, but Philia is the one that we live most of our lives; we love our siblings and our parents, uncles and cousins and even our friends with this type of love….

Back to that good old Eros - erotica, passionate, love - the one that makes us crazy and unpredictable the one that makes us forget ourselves just to be with someone who makes us FEEL a certain way! 

During this Weekend of Love, make sure you are loving the way you want to be loved and if you don't get exactly what you want, remember to forgive AND forget! 

One (or two) mistake does not a relationship break!

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