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    Christian Theology - Thread: PERFECT LOVE

    1. #1
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      PERFECT LOVE

      If you hate some people
      and some you neither love not hate,
      while others you love only moderately
      and still others you love very much,
      know from this inequality
      that you are far from perfect love,
      which lays down
      that you must love everyone equally.

      St. Maximos the Confessor

      Or as Paul writes:

      1Co 4:12
      Being reviled, we bless...

      Or as Christ said:

      "Love your enemies"

      Mat 5:44

      But I say unto you,
      Love your enemies,
      bless them that curse you,
      do good to them that hate you,
      and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you;


      Do you love your enemies?

      Is love an action or a feeling?


      Arsenios

    2. #2
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      Quote Originally Posted by Arsenios View Post
      If you hate some people
      and some you neither love not hate,
      while others you love only moderately
      and still others you love very much,
      know from this inequality
      that you are far from perfect love,
      which lays down
      that you must love everyone equally.

      St. Maximos the Confessor

      Or as Paul writes:

      1Co 4:12
      Being reviled, we bless...

      Or as Christ said:

      "Love your enemies"

      Mat 5:44

      But I say unto you,
      Love your enemies,
      bless them that curse you,
      do good to them that hate you,
      and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you;


      Do you love your enemies?

      Is love an action or a feeling?


      Arsenios
      Love is an action, it helps if the feelings are the same as the actions but the one essential of love is that it does good.
      Saint Jude, author of the new testament letter.

      He is the patron of impossible causes because the scriptural Letter of St. Jude, which he authored, urges Christians to persevere in difficult times.

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    4. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by MoreCoffee View Post
      Love is an action, it helps if the feelings are the same as the actions but the one essential of love is that it does good.
      I like to think of it as the doing of what is beneficial for another person...

      "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself..." is not just a nice sounding phrase meaning "leave people alone..."

      And yet some of the most profoundly social people are the almost antisocial hermits...

      Christians are a peculiar people...


      Arsenios

    5. #4
      MennoSota is offline Bronze Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Arsenios View Post
      If you hate some people
      and some you neither love not hate,
      while others you love only moderately
      and still others you love very much,
      know from this inequality
      that you are far from perfect love,
      which lays down
      that you must love everyone equally.

      St. Maximos the Confessor

      Or as Paul writes:

      1Co 4:12
      Being reviled, we bless...

      Or as Christ said:

      "Love your enemies"

      Mat 5:44

      But I say unto you,
      Love your enemies,
      bless them that curse you,
      do good to them that hate you,
      and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you;


      Do you love your enemies?

      Is love an action or a feeling?


      Arsenios
      Get out your lighters and wave them in the air as you listen to this "not so classic" Christian song of years gone by...

    6. #5
      ValleyGal is offline Veteran Member
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      I had that record! Wow, flashback!

      I believe love is a decision that translates into action. But there is a lot of current underneath all that. There has to be a certain "feeling" behind the decision - motive - that comes from a place of goodness. After all, you can decide to do what is in someone else's best interest, and then become resentful about it. ... and this leads us to a sense of boundaries and responsibility, because you as the one loving, are responsible for your own feelings that come as a result of your own decision. There are a whole lot of under-currents, but essentially, love is a decision to do what is in someone else's best interest, even at great cost to self.

    7. #6
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      The author who cited this text from St. Maximos the Confessor:

      know from this inequality (of love for friend and dislike of enemy)
      that you are far from perfect love,
      which lays down
      that you must love everyone equally.


      Went on to comment on the meaning of "lays down"...

      "The sense of 'lays down' here means that beneath a certain objective category, under a particular idea, I establish a foundation, a presupposition, a purpose or a program, so that it does not stand apart from its larger context or aim. In this case, "perfect love" has as its goal that you must love everyone equally. This also means to move and inspire people, to guide and direct them, because this is what it means to give someone, or to have, a goal or a purpose. Thus perfect love inspires you, it encourages and exhorts you, it guides you to the place where you can love everyone equally, because perfect love is the love of God.

      "This applies to you in your relationships with others. But what about what they do to you? What kind of evil can other people, or demons, inflict upon you? The answer is given the following chapter." (A chapter means a short text by St. Maximos, - like the one starting this thread.)

      So that having as one's standard the establishment of perfect love as the love of God in one's soul, the person who does so has a valuable basis, and not merely an intellectual basis that floats in the air and is quickly blown away by the rulership of the air, but instead has an ontological foundation in othe very core of one's being, a basis of action and feeling which establishes oversight of one's conduct and the management of one's soul in relationship to God and man...

      No small matter...

      For when you find yourself treasuring your best friend and intensely disliking the mugger (who beat him up and took his wallet), you will immediately have the basis for knowing that you have a long way to go and are FAR from the Love of God... Indeed, having a hierarchical love of people, is itself ruled out by this standard, which is God's standard... And one will know immediately what one needs to do go to work establishing the Love of God in one's soul by repenting from disliking the mugger, and by doing him good, which normally will mean praying for him, but sometimes more than that... Establishing the love for the "unlovable" then becomes a clear pathway to the Kingdom of Heaven so far now out of reach...

      So we soften, hang our heads in wonder, and love the mugger as our self...


      Arsenios

    8. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
      Get out your lighters and wave them in the air as you listen to this "not so classic" Christian song of years gone by...
      "Love's not a Feeling" carries a truth, but not by denial of the feeling...
      Nor by endorsement of the feeling...
      So the truth is wrapped in the lie here...

      Look - If you do not feel love for the fallen, no matter how wretchedly sinful he or she might be, no matter how besotted with evil, then it is YOU who stand condemned... And yes, the way back to the love of God is to DO good to the one despised in spite of despising him or her, and to stand condemned when, after doing good, to then resent having done good to him or her at all...

      Perfect love is the love of God... And God IS Love... To love God's creation as God loved His creation is to have the love of God...

      In this manner did God Love the Cosmos... That He Gave His Only Begotten Son...

      So that it is not ours to judge and dislike and resent and turn from the love of God...

      To do so is adultery in the Marriage of the Lamb...


      Arsenios

    9. #8
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      I would say that 'perfect' love is a condition of the heart and it would be an action, feeling and much more. But I have found even when my heart is not ready to perfectly love, action is a great place to start. I seems tol forcing own fallen nature to God's will is part of the process. I've also found if you don't force your nature to submit you will not progress to a level of perfect love and in fact you will probably regress into bitterness and anger.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Tigger View Post
      I would say that 'perfect' love is a condition of the heart and it would be an action, feeling and much more. But I have found even when my heart is not ready to perfectly love, action is a great place to start. I seems tol forcing own fallen nature to God's will is part of the process. I've also found if you don't force your nature to submit you will not progress to a level of perfect love and in fact you will probably regress into bitterness and anger.
      This is why confession of sin and repentance from it is the key to the acquisition of the love of God... But how can one confess a sin that one does not even know one has? Self-justification is such an insidious sin... How can one possibly love both Cain and Abel equally? Does not even God say in the Bible: "...But Esau have I hated..."?? How can I love the murderer more than the murdered?

      Yet the OT is but the fore-shading of the New... And the Love of Christ ascended the Cross for the sake of sinners, and only sinners crucified Him...

      So that by NOT feeling compassion for the sinner, we stand condemned...

      We stand in need of repentance...

      And yes, forcing ourselves to forgive is a start...

      And if we cannot forgive, forcing ourselves to pray is a start...

      To ask God to give us forgiveness that we do not have is a start...

      To stand condemned before God, as the Publican, for hardness of heart, is a start...

      To make one's self WRONG in one's standing before God is a START...


      Arsenios

    11. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by Arsenios View Post
      This is why confession of sin and repentance from it is the key to the acquisition of the love of God... But how can one confess a sin that one does not even know one has? Self-justification is such an insidious sin... How can one possibly love both Cain and Abel equally? Does not even God say in the Bible: "...But Esau have I hated..."?? How can I love the murderer more than the murdered?

      Yet the OT is but the fore-shading of the New... And the Love of Christ ascended the Cross for the sake of sinners, and only sinners crucified Him...

      So that by NOT feeling compassion for the sinner, we stand condemned...

      We stand in need of repentance...

      And yes, forcing ourselves to forgive is a start...

      And if we cannot forgive, forcing ourselves to pray is a start...

      To ask God to give us forgiveness that we do not have is a start...

      To stand condemned before God, as the Publican, for hardness of heart, is a start...

      To make one's self WRONG in one's standing before God is a START...


      Arsenios
      Agreed Romans 7:7

      What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid! Nay, I would not have known sin, but through the law; for I would not have known lust, except that the law had said, “Thou shalt not covet.”

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