Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Love Pyramid - Part 1

The Foundation of Love 

Some of the best things in life are easy to understand but hard to implement, and when the simple things get difficult, our tendency is to over-complicate the simple. Love is a great example. It is both a decision and a feeling, and because it is often made up of such conflicting desires, people sometimes give up on understanding and refer to it as a great mystery of life. 

There are seven Greek words for love and three Hebrew words, but we only need to be focused on divine love. Paul wrote about this kind of divine unconditional love that is often quoted at marriage ceremonies: 
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. 
Love as described above is truly divine, and it doesn’t come easily for us; however, it is possible when we can look to a visible model of that love. Tragically, some people have never seen love modeled for them, and if any of us look to a human being as our model of love, we will be disappointed because imperfect people love others imperfectly. John the Apostle gives us hope as he tells us that God’s demonstration of love enables and inspires us to reflect His love. 
We love because God loved us first. 
Love is simple; it is a decision to give of oneself to another. We were created to love and to be loved, and because it is part of who we were created to be, we are filled with so many good feelings when we choose to give of ourselves and love someone else. But our feelings can be misleading, and therefore we need to be cautious to not be led by our emotions even if we are often rewarded by them. 

We are filled with so many conflicting desires and seeking to fulfill those desires ironically leaves us strangely unsatisfied with an ever pressing need to fill that growing emptiness. It’s like eating food that is nutrient deprived. Feeding our appetite never satisfies so we eat increasingly larger servings. It is also like a drowning person who in their panic for air is likely to drown any potential savior. This is the nature of lust, which desires nothing more than to receive. It is passion without reason, emotions that promise an empty reward. 

Understanding the nature of love is easy, but our desires make it hard for us to live a life of love. It’s easier to say we can’t understand love than to admit that we don’t feel like loving, and so we complicate love. Understanding this foundation of love is essential to understanding the Love Pyramid that I’ll describe in a future blog. If we grasp this foundational understanding of love, it changes our concept of God, His love for us and all the structures of religion. These structures fall away as unnecessarily complicated rules once we understand that they only implementations of love. There is no need for rules when we love as we were made to love. (see Mark 12:28-34
“Don’t ever think that I came to set aside Moses’ Teachings or the Prophets. I didn’t come to set them aside but to make them come true.” 
copyright ©2020 Mitchell Malloy (