Is Love A Feeling Or Decision?
I was doing a devotion this morning, and the question I read was on love. It said, 'Is love a feeling?'. When i first read that, I thought, 'it's a decision'. Wouldn't it be in the same category as forgiveness. So many people say, 'when i feel forgiveness, I'll forgive'. 'When someone apologizes to me, i'll feel forgiveness toward them.' However, forgiveness is a decision. You don't wait to feel forgiving to forgive, according to the Bible. So would it not work the same way for love? People love people who treat them well. What about the people who don't treat them well? Wouldn't it be the same? Wouldn't you decide to love them anyway?
Some people say they don't love another because they did this, or that. They base love on the actions of another. But that would not be biblical love, because if you read about the live of Jesus on earth, He could have easily hated the people crucifying him on the cross, yet what did he do? He looked to heaven and said 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do'. That is biblical love.
So if we don't feel love at this point toward someone, shouldn't we just act in response to how we want to feel as Christians, and allow God to bring that to pass? Shouldn't we allow our faith to act, line our actions up with 1 Corinthians 13? '
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.'
Should we not act on it the way we would forgiveness by being consistent in our actions, until they become a genuine desire? We choose to forgive someone. We don't feel that forgiveness initially, but we choose to forgive to honor Christ, and after a while, it manifests itself, and we actually begin feeling it in our hearts. I believe love is a decision as well. It has never crossed my mind until today. I have prayed numerous times that God give me a love people for this person, or that person, just as I did with forgiveness. That is an excellent prayer, but it has to be coupled with the act of faith. Faith without works is dead. If we are just having faith that we can love or forgive someone, and that God can change your heart, but we are not acting on it, we are spinning our wheels and getting no where. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. We would have to love someone who is unlovable, and over time, you would actually begin to feel those feelings of love toward someone. All this time I have based it on how I felt in the matter.
I remember it took me 3 years of consistent, action filled prayer, to feel forgiveness toward my husbands ex wife for all the awful things she had done to the children, Mike, and I. Each time she acted spitefully, or selfishly, I would repeat in my mind or aloud, 'I choose to forgive her'. Through my actions, God additionally grew a love in my heart for her that overrides anything she does anymore. She recently did something, and instead of fighting hate toward her, or struggling to let go, I chose to forgive her, and felt a genuine love for her. I continue to feel that love regardless.
Consciously in your mind you can say 'I choose to love so and so. I choose to forgive and I choose to love them. The thing is, forgiving someone for how they treat you opens the door for an active love to fill your heart for them. It is an amazing feeling. It is the way God feels toward us when we curse Him and blame Him for wrongdoing. It is the same love God feels toward us when we sin against Him. God IS love. We are not, so we have to make an extra effort to CHOOSE to love.
Meditate on 1 Corinthians 13. Evaluate your own walk with God and line up your current actions towards others, with the ones God tells us in this chapter to have, do or not do. If you need to, make a checklist. If your not actively checking off each of these as a success in your life, ask God to evaluate your heart. It may lie in unforgiveness in your heart toward someone. When God reveals those sins, repent, and make a decision to forgive and love that person who offended you.
This brought great freedom in my life and I know if you pursue it, it will do the same for you. God bless.