Eric’s Sunday Sermon; Love Is
Local Canyon To Hike
Mental Aspects of Love
Let’s take a look at the most famous of all statements about love. Let’s start out with some ground rules that all else must be weighed against. The opposite of love is mostly apathy and not hate. There are really about twenty different kinds of love. Some say billions as each person has their own. Love is from both nature and nurture. Love is the most universal of all “feelings/emotions”. The constant elements of love are basically the same for all types of love.
Some folks “do” love. Some folks act lovingly. But the best way to describe love is to understand we really must strive to be “in” love. It must be accepted that there is love in everyone. To what degree and how it manifests itself is really a choice. Even hateful Hitlers have love they just chose to stuff it down by making something else much more of a priority. So sad.
Empathy and sympathy are characteristic of someone in love. A psychopath is someone who can’t quite process those two into a love base. Which brings us to the hateful notion of exploiting another’s love for gain. So sick.
So we jump right in to famous statement by a fellow named Paul who was Saul. This transformation is important about love. Saul suppressed his to a dangerously low level. He ran around persecuting folks for their spiritual beliefs. And the greatest gift of his transformation to Paul seems to be the embracing of love even above faith. So Paul had to be hit hard and fast to shock his system’s need for vengeance and let love be in the forefront. Some call it a rebirth. I am good with that.
So we get this verse about what love is. If you stop to think about it that is kind of a strange idea. A feeling/emotion can be classified as to what it is? In a philosophical sense. What “is” is normally applied to things and not the metaphysical. And don’t definitions pretty much limit us and don’t free us. For instance what if I meet all other criteria but fail in longstanding? And that crazy idea of tough love. Which I do not care for but am all in on the duty to practice brutal honesty.
It would seem that expressing our feelings honestly to another whom we love is one of the finest side effects or symptoms of love. That concept of sharing happiness or sorrow is paramount.
Not My Normal But I Like It
I Love My Roses and Have Pride in Them
So here it is: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 New International Version (NIV)
“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Now that is a tall order for anyone so let us agree straight up front that those are what we strive for, we look toward progress rather than perfection. We treat ourselves in love and do not dwell on our own judgment of critical evaluation. In order to get close to these ideals we must be gentle on ourselves. For one who cannot love themselves cannot love in general. Kind of like sticking to a diet to lose weight or recovery from an addiction. Slipups are part of success and getting too down on yourself is part of the failure. Please do not be put off by critical analysis of love. It almost makes no sense, but we can find it helpful.
Other than morning, noon and night, saying “I love you”, our most common use of the term is for food, especially fruits. Of course pizza and dad’s potatoes are right up there.
Some say using the word love on inanimate objects cheapens the meaning. They need to get over that. Love is big enough to deal with it.
So love is patient, love is kind. Isn’t it cool that those are in the same sentence, like they go together specifically. Makes sense if you think about it. Loving someone and teaching them requires both. Kind and patient instruction for both parties is a special gift for both. If I set my mind to being patient and kind, traffic jams and long grocery store checkout lines hold no negative power over me. Funny that I used “set my mind” rather than my “heart”. Love is as much a mental practice as it is a soulful one.
It would appear that those two attributes were placed first for a reason as they transcend all types of love. Pretty heady stuff to look into further and of course that will lead us into the other attributes of love that are desirable. I hope you are loving, (kind and patient) reading this. It might be the only way you get through it. ;-)
One of My Favs
I Even Love Love
“It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” Now getting puffed up is bad. Self centered is not good. Most ego stuff leads in a bad direction. Conceit is bad in every way. Coveting another man’s wife is really bad.
However this is not talking about pride in a healthy sense. And we should be a tad envious of greatness so we strive. I am very proud of my children and lovely wife. I will never change that no matter what. Like me they may make mistakes but are good at the core. I am proud when I do a good job at doing things. But I do not boast about it except to that devil sitting on my left shoulder. And I may boast about my love. (I love you so much)
Now “It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” Check it out, this one starts with no dishonoring and ends with no record of wrongs. And sandwiched are ego issues. We should remember that 90% of anger comes from our judgment that someone else acted wrong, and sometimes even that someone’s father did something wrong. I am guilty of all four of these things. Maybe that was Paul’s point here? Like with any bad behavior we need to repent (turn around) and apologize. And simply those acts of humility get us back on the right track.
A positive perhaps; “6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” Isn’t that cool that he pits evil not against love but against truth. Makes you kind of think that love is truth. No façade and no fudging here. Probably not “honey that dress makes you look even fatter”. But probably “honey I like this dress more, it is so flattering”. Normally I think once a day we do a baby evil. Hence a proper guilt is produced, sometimes a little guilt is not a bad thing. Like sticking your hand in fire – the pain is immediately felt. At least in someone “in” love.
“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” What a mouthful that is. We may want to call his editor. But it works right. Protect and trust. I hope my young son gets that I love him in such a way. Personal security is so essential to form our base of love. And putting them together is right. Hope and perseverance. One is in the heart only and the other is the action resulting from hope. I say “Right On!”
Well at any rate I hope you got a loving blessing from this sermon.