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Saturday, December 1, 2007

What is love? (that Haddaway song didn't help at all)

Just doing a bit of pondering last night...thought I'd throw some thoughts out and see what anybody else here goes. My thoughts may be a bit jumbled and not organized, since I've only been thinking since last night. To preface these thoughts I need to give you a quote that I've been thinking about for a while that my institute teacher said. He said "sometimes the lord holds back blessings just long enough to make sure your in love with him and not the blessing."ok...on with the show. Think about somebody that you love...parents, kids, siblings, spouce...whoever. Got someone in mind? Now, imagine that they did something special for you...I mean really special. Maybe something that required sacrafice on their part, maybe not, but definately something that meant the world to you. Would your love for them deepen and increase. I think most of us would say that it would. Now lets apply this situation to God. Lets suppose that you had been praying for a particular blessing for a while, and it is super important to you. Keeping my institute teachers quote in mind, if we didn't get our blessing, we shouldn't love God any less.Well, when I got into bed last night after my prayers I thought, well, if I don't get my blessing, it's ok, I won't love God any less. So I figured I was good. Then I thought, but I'd sure love him more if I did get my blessing. That's when the guilt trip started. If I'd love him more if I got this super important blessing, why not now before I get it. That's when the pondering started and the analogy that I shared at first. Perhaps, I thought, love isn't the right word to describe the feeling...maybe just an increase in appreciation, or gratitude maybe? or maybe it is love? Are there degrees of love, or do you either love someone or you don't? I know for sure if God blessed me I'd sure feel it more love, more gratitude, what? Anyway, what do ya'll think? Is there anyone else that will go on this guilt trip with me?


Marcus said...

I agree with the whole guilt trip thing. I feel that way a lot. I think we need to look at how we define "love." I love my wife and daughter so much, but when my daughter is crying in the middle of the night and I have to get up and go to work the next day, I don't stop "loving" her while she is crying, but it sure is not as easy to express this love as when she is is laughing and playing with me. But also on the same token my wife and child can leave for a few days, and I will realize how much I do love them while they are gone. I believe that this is why God the Father had to leave Christ in Gethsemane so he could know how much his help was going on my him.

As far as delaying blessing so you appreciate them more. This is not purely a spiritual term. The physical term is "delayed gratification." We save up for things that we want (i.e. a house or vacation.) While saving up for these things we can not always buy everything that we want, but we know there is something better out there. When we finally do get the big items we appreciate them so much more, because we sacrificed for them.

I think the best thing for this situation is to sit down and clearly define for yourself what love is. It will be different for everybody how they define love.

Ami said...

This is an excellent point, and I must say, I'm on the guilt-trip train too. Although, I'm inclined to go with the idea that you presented that perhaps it isn't love so much as it is gratitude. Then again, I suppose that gratitude is a form of love and vice versa, so maybe that isn't the right answer. Maybe it is that love is divided into segments, not vertical degrees, but horizontal segments and each segment represents a different part of love, one being gratitude, and in different situations, that segment grows a little bit stronger, but the love as a whole is still intact as it was before. I don't know....

Katiedid said...

Warning: These thoughts are incomplete and may be difficult to follow.
I do think you would love God more if He blessed you. This isn't a selfish feeling. God doesn't bless you with trivial things. If He blesses you, it is to provide you with more opportunity for growth. As you grow, you are more able to understand. With that greater understanding comes a greater ability to love.
I'm imagining in my mind right now a matrix from which your love radiates. At the beginning of your life, you have one row and one column. You have a limited ability to express love. As you grow (spiritually more than physically), you add more rows and columns. You become more capable to express love. Blessings provide opportunity for growth and therefore an increase in capacity to love.
However, just because you have an 11 X 8 matrix does not mean that you always maximize the love you can express. That is where "to love with all your heart" comes in to play.
I am at a loss for an effective conclusion. Wrap your mind around these thoughts and expound upon them if you so desire.

Robby C said...

I found some interesting scriptures referring to love.
"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." John 15:10
"If you keep not my commandments, the love of the Father shall not continue with you." D&C 95:12
"Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." John 14:23
"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." John 14:21
These scriptures seem to indicate a love that is conditional upon certain things (keeping the commandments seems to be a common requirement).
Now I do believe that God loves everyone, so if I am to justify these scriptures I guess I would have to say that they are talking about another level of love that is conditional. I think this is getting back to my original post. I guess there are different levels of love, and some of them are conditional on certain things. I asked myself why God's love would increase for us if we keep the commandments. I decided that it shows God that we are willing to sacrifice for him, and that shows love for him. I thought about my example of somebody doing something special for us. The reason that we may feel an increased love for them is because through their giving they have shown an increased love for us. It's kind of contagious I guess. I'm starting to feel less guilty. I think there are different levels of love and they are conditional. But as Katie mentioned it doesn't necessarily mean that we are selfish. It's just when we are shown love we can't help but gain a deeper love for that person.