We spoke about Saint Peter, upon which The Church is built. In our recent share, after Jesus pronounced him the rock upon which The Church was to be established, Jesus rebuked Satan’s effect on Saint Peter. Matthew 16:23 says: Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
The rock was then asked a number of times if Saint Peter Loved The LORD. We can imagine his feeling (the first time I answered that. And again, now a third time! Is there something I am doing wrong?)
“…A third time Jesus asked him, “Simon son of John, do you Love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I Love You.” Jesus said, “Then feed My sheep.”
We can discuss this to no end! But rather, I will start simply by asking you, do you Love The LORD?
I ask this seriously, why do you say, think or know that you Love Him?
What is Love to you? What does it mean? What does it do?
We launch on a journey; think, meditate and focus on the concept of Love.
It is a difficult concept to grasp!
Describing a biblical view of love turns out to be no simple matter. First off, the Bible was written in both Hebrew and Greek, and each of these languages has multiple words that we translate as “love.” (On this count, Hebrew wins out with about a dozen words expressing a range of emotions from sexual desire to intimate friendship, and from covenantal fidelity to acts of mercy and kindness.)
There are also understandings of love floating around among different authors. So what the author of the Song of Solomon says about love isn’t the same as what the author(s) of Genesis say, which isn’t the same as what John says, which isn’t the same as Paul … and so on. All of which means that not only is there no single view of love in the Bible but any larger scheme you propose by which to organize these various treatises on love will inevitably fall short.
This is why I direct you to seriously meditate, feel and know what true Love is!
We can tear this down, there are three different descriptions of the feeling: Love.
Three Greek words: Eros, romantic, passionate love, from which we get our word “erotic”; Phileo, the love of great friends and siblings, from which we get “Philadelphia,” the “city of brotherly love”; and Agape, parental, self-sacrificing love that seeks only the welfare of the other. All three kinds of love are represented in the Bible, which means that all three are considered to be created and blessed by God.
I will be forward again, what do you feel for the reason you are here? You were created, no? We can look at Biology, Genetics, even Evolution. You are here! No? Why? What have you done with ‘life’, what is your function? Your center? What, Why, When and Where are you? Hopefully, I make you think! Dwell on these.
Do you like yourself? Stand yourself? I will ask the somewhat difficult question: Do you love/Love yourself? This is ‘difficult ‘ in so many ways. Let us refer once again to the definition of Love in all its forms:
Eros is sexual or passionate love, and is the type most akin to our modern construct of romantic love. In Greek myth, it is a form of madness brought about by one of Cupid’s arrows. The arrow breaches us and we ‘fall’ in love, as did Paris with Helen, leading to the Trojan War and the downfall of Troy and much of the assembled Greek army. In modern times, eros has been amalgamated with the broader life force, something akin to Schopenhauer’s will, a fundamentally blind process of striving for survival and reproduction. Eros has also been contrasted with Logos, or Reason, and Cupid painted as a blindfolded child.
The hallmark of philia, or friendship, is shared goodwill. Aristotle believed that a person can bear goodwill to another for one of three reasons: that he is useful; that he is pleasant; and, above all, that he is good, that is, rational and virtuous. Friendships founded on goodness are associated not only with mutual benefit but also with companionship, dependability, and trust.
For Plato, the best kind of friendship is that which lovers have for each other. It is a philia born out of eros, and that in turn feeds back into eros to strengthen and develop it, transforming it from a lust for possession into a shared desire for a higher level of understanding of the self, the other, and the world. In short, philia transforms eros from a lust for possession into an impulse for philosophy. Real friends seek together to live truer, fuller lives by relating to each other authentically and teaching each other about the limitations of their beliefs and the defects in their character, which are a far greater source of error than mere rational confusion: they are, in effect, each other’s therapist—and in that much it helps to find a friend with some degree of openness, articulacy, and insight, both to change and to be changed.
Storge (‘store-gae’), or familial love, is a kind of philia pertaining to the love between parents and their children. It differs from most philia in that it tends, especially with younger children, to be unilateral or asymmetrical. More broadly, storge is the fondness born out of familiarity or dependency and, unlike eros or philia, does not hang on our personal qualities. People in the early stages of a romantic relationship often expect unconditional storge, but find only the need and dependency of eros, and, if they are lucky, the maturity and fertility of philia. Given enough time, eros tends to mutate into storge.
Agape is universal love, such as the love for strangers, nature, or God. Unlike storge, it does not depend on filiation or familiarity. Also called charity by Christian thinkers, agape can be said to encompass the modern concept of altruism, defined as unselfish concern for the welfare of others. Recent studies link altruism with a number of benefits. In the short term, altruism leaves us with a euphoric feeling—the so-called ‘helper’s high’. In the longer term, it is associated with better mental and physical health, as well as longevity. At a social level, altruism serves as a signal of cooperative intentions, and also of resource availability and so of mating or partnering potential. It also opens up a debt account, encouraging beneficiaries to reciprocate with gifts and favours that may be of much greater value to us than those with which we feel able to part. More generally, altruism, or agape, helps to build and maintain the psychological, social, and, indeed, environmental fabric that shields, sustains, and enriches us. Given the increasing anger and division in our society, and the state of our planet, we could all do with quite a bit more agape.
Ludus is playful or uncommitted love. It can involve activities such as teasing and dancing, or more overt flirting, seducing, and conjugating. The focus is on fun, and sometimes also on conquest, with no strings attached. Ludus relationships are casual, undemanding, and uncomplicated but, for all that, can be very long-lasting. Ludus works best when both parties are mature and self-sufficient. Problems arise when one party mistakes ludus for eros, whereas ludus is in fact much more compatible with philia.
Pragma is a kind of practical love founded on reason or duty and one’s longer-term interests. Sexual attraction takes a back seat in favour of personal qualities and compatibilities, shared goals, and making it work. In the days of arranged marriages, pragma must have been very common. Although unfashionable, it remains widespread, most visibly in certain high-profile celebrity and political pairings. Many relationships that start off as eros or ludus end up as various combinations of storge and pragma. Pragma may seem opposed to ludus, but the two can co-exist, with the one providing a counterpoint to the other. In the best of cases, the partners in the pragma relationship agree to turn a blind eye—or even a sympathetic eye, as in the case of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, or Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson.
Philautia is self-love, which can be healthy or unhealthy. Unhealthy self-love is akin to hubris. In Ancient Greece, a person could be accused of hubris if he placed himself above the gods, or, like certain modern politicians, above the greater good. Many believed that hubris led to destruction, or nemesis. Today, hubris has come to mean an inflated sense of one’s status, abilities, or accomplishments, especially when accompanied by haughtiness or arrogance. As it disregards truth, hubris promotes injustice, conflict, and enmity.
Healthy self-love is akin to self-esteem, which is our cognitive and, above all, emotional appraisal of our own worth relative to that of others. More than that, it is the matrix through which we think, feel, and act, and reflects and determines our relation to ourselves, to others, and to the world.
Self-esteem and self-confidence do not always go hand in hand. In particular, it is possible to be highly self-confident and yet to have profoundly low self-esteem, as is the case with many performers and celebrities.
I am aware that we started with three main definitions, I thought it important to discuss all we feel/experience/have.
If and when we say God Loves you. What does it mean? Seeing, knowing and believing that God divided Himself to enhance His Glory (we can discuss this) He was and is known as The Holy/Blessed Trinity. Three in One! Three as One! This blows your mind if/when you think of it.
God created The Universe, what is seen and experienced was created from the unseen. Talk as much as you like…Do you ever see words? He spoke and it was/is/will be. We do not have to say for always! There is an end to all. We may have heard of the new Heaven and the new Earth. Read Revelations Chapter 21. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/%3Fsearch%3DRevelation%2B21%26version%3DNIV%26interface%3Damp&ved=2ahUKEwic48mtndLbAhVRnFkKHSu_CJYQFjAAegQIAhAB&usg=AOvVaw37TZs_nmUGYtTOzQnqCJKp&cf=1
We have a LOT to consider. We started off talking about Jesus asking the rock upon which The Church is built, if he (Peter) Loved Him. Three times! That took us to meander about definitions and kinds of love (here because the very widely in definition I use “l” instead of “L” which I use for true Love, God’s Love. Who He is, What He is, What moves Him.
To Love something so much that you sacrifice Yourself (or a part of you for it.) Is inexplicable! I know this might sound outlandish, a part of God came to redefine life. Yes, there are many opposing forces, you have a decision to make!
Nor publicly, but in your heart. IF it shows, let it show, you are a new creation, a brand new individual. Old things have passed away, knowing how ‘disagreeable’ the term is…you are a new person. In essence you are renewed (new Creation.) It is essentially being born again. You Must Be Born Again to see The Kingdom of Heaven.
“Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
For God So Loved the World
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”