Saturday, September 03, 2011

Is that Love?

Where did August go?

Playing catch up from being gone so long in July.
Disappearing to the mountains for almost a week for refreshment.
Dropping our son off at college.
Flying into Hurricane territory with a crazy amount of peace to start a new and significant phase of training in Boston.

That is where August went.

In the midst of all that something got said to me three different times. All three times it really got my attention and I could not figure out why until this morning. Dave and I are in the process of starting a new home group with another couple. In preparation for that we are reading a book called: Love Walked Among Us by Paul Miller. Reading this book, this morning, helped me to see what I was sorting out.

Here are the words that were spoken to me. "I know love is not a feeling. Love is an action."

I do not believe this is true. I believe that another pendulum swing has happened. It is fair to think that our culture has preached a message that says love is a feeling. Human "wisdom" has reduced love to a feeling. When the feelings stop then people believe that love has ended. In response to one half truth another has been created. Love is an action. Is that all love is?

If love is not a feeling and love is an action than isn't love very legalistic? Couldn't you come up with the to do list of actions that are loving and then you do them and define yourself as loving. You can even use the bible to come up with the to do list. That picture starts to look like a Pharisee to me. Obedient actions that include nothing else is not love.

Two things come to mind that I believe are true about love. Jesus is love. Jesus did not love us with parts of himself. Jesus loves us with his mind, his will, his emotions and his strength or actions. I believe that the transformation process in us is to take us from people who do not know how to love to others to people who love like Jesus. I believe that is why Jesus called Luke 10:27 the greatest commandment.

(Jesus)"He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’"

Here is where I see simply taking loving actions as being wise rather than legalistic. I have been called by God to do things that I did not want to do. Rather than compassion, concern or care for the other person I was fearful, selfish or prideful. I have asked God to help me to be able to simply do what I was being asked to do. God did help me and then in the process an understanding or a change in me did come through obedient surrender. In other words some things you just can't understand until you experience them with a teachable spirit. But there is so much more going on there than just doing a loving act. It's not actually the action itself that is love. It's coming to understand God and care about others more than myself that is love.

So I think the next time someone says to me that love is an action wanting me to see the wisdom of that expression... I will have to say please don't reduce love to just action. I think Love is more.