Choice of Love

“A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.”  -Mahatma Gandhi

Love is a very misunderstood term in our culture.  It is often used in replacement of what should be understood as attraction.  Attraction doesn’t take effort.  It’s just part of how we were created.  Unfortunately, after the fall, this attraction became a slippery slope into lust.  Love on the other hand is less common because it isn’t an instinctive feeling.  Love really isn’t a feeling at all.  It is a choice.

As a young man I was always surrounded by attraction.  Still somehow deep within my core beliefs I knew that love was a word that was different than attraction.  I’m not quite sure how I understood this at such a young age, but somehow I just did.  I guess it was instilled within me that things you had to work for are the ones that ultimately will mean the most.  It’s a lot like gambling for me.  If I put a lot in, I could receive even more in in the end.  I had no idea what came out on the other side when you put the work in; but I knew it had to be something far greater than attraction or lust.  I was looking for something sustainable.

Love is difficult to put into words.  We forfeited our perfection of it immediately in the fall and therefore make distractions from it look appetizing.  I believe that’s why it takes so much work.  I had a conversation with someone I love and respect a great deal on Genesis 3:16 a couple weeks ago;

To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be contrary to your husband,
    but he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16, ESV)

This text can be overwhelming for some.  It is often misunderstood among believers and non-believers alike.  Very recently the verse was changed in the English Standard Version, however, that is best a topic for different day.  Without going too far down the rabbit hole, we can at least agree there is a clear, inherent difference between man and woman within the scripture.  However, you may feel I think it’s obvious to see that the relationship between man and woman is not going to go as smoothly as it once had.  God makes that oh so clear. However, this is not to say that it can’t attempt too.  This is where Jesus Christ, servanthood, unselfishness, and perspective play the most crucial of roles.  Christ was our example for the agape love that we were created to exhibit.  How do we get closest to that?

Although it’s hard, it’s not impossible.  I usually don’t look to cinema for accurate representations of life or emotion, however, the scene at the end of The Notebook was an image of real love as I’ve ever seen one.  I believe that connection was a byproduct from two individuals becoming as close to one another as they can.  It’s like a statehood of being where you care as much, or more at times, for the person you chose to share life with.  I find that statehood of love is far more attractive than attraction itself.  I cannot express that enough!  Attraction is the devil’s counterfeit for love.  That counterfeit then leads to lust, then to sin, and eventually to death in a slow perverted fashion that is insatiable.  It doesn’t sustain the actual soul.

We see divorce rates are higher.  People are less gratified in their relationships.  Why and how?  Unhealthy and faulty expectations.  Porn has become a large part of our society, pushing expectations even further to a point they cannot be met at all.  We see it in various forms; movies, video games, imagery, and even reading.  It is completely accepted as a part of us now and we believe we must feed it regularly.  Many are in marriages and relationships that they believe aren’t right for them because they simply have these unrealistic expectations.

We are to the point of combining attraction and lust into a new definition of love.  Solely because we clearly don’t understand the differences anymore, and we frankly don’t want too.  That part of our heritage seems so foreign now.  It is a severe let down developed from flawed western ideology where needs and desires become difficult to distinguish between, more than ever.  We may be too late for the majority and this is indeed an uphill battle, however we must first determine the true relationship between man and woman as it was created to be.  This is a perspective that we need to accept as truth, regardless of how we feel emotionally.  It may not be possible in this life to reach perfection of agape love with a spouse or mate, but we can always choose to get closer if we commit to it.  We can make the intentional choice to love.

 

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