Monday, March 4, 2013

The Danger of Loving With All of Your Heart

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” –Jesus

Much of my early years were filled with teachers who spoke of love like an engineer speaks of plans for building a bridge or like a mathematician explaining formulas or a stoical Spartan speaking of doing his duty. Even when these teachers spoke of I Corinthians 13, there was no poetry, no feeling, no passion or compassion, no enthusiasm, and definitely no fire.
God did not create us in the image of a Vulcan -- Greetings, Science Officer Spock! He created us in His Image: the God Who Is Love.
Isn’t a love that is void of feelings far, far beneath what God intends for us to experience for Him and for others? Sure, some people need to remember to bring intelligence and willpower to demonstrations of love, but just as many need to take their hearts out of cold storage.

The Danger of Love
Love is dangerous because it is the nature of love to surrender, to lose control, to be vulnerable to the point of becoming fragile. And herein is the reason so many people avoid allowing themselves to love as they were meant and made to. Love is both a wonder-filled experience and a painful one. As many people have a predisposition to avoiding pain, they close their hearts to it, and in doing so close their hearts off to love.
It is far safer to approach love for God and others solely as acts of our wills: do your duty, and keep your commitment. Just do it … but don’t feel it, because once you throw your heart into the arena, someone is going to step on it.
Ask yourself this: Do you feel loved by a lover or friend who resigns himself to performing his duty toward you?

Monte: Hey George. I really don’t feel like serving you today. I have no sense of compassion or affection toward you, really don’t even want to be here, But. I. Will. Serve. You. (Cue sounds of grunting and straining.)

George: You can leave now.

Sure. Love requires our intelligence, our strength, and our willpower. But it also involves our hearts. And yes, there are certainly times when your heart just isn’t in it. However, if heartlessness is a lifestyle, if this is my way of being in relationships, then something is terribly wrong with me.
Love is a flame: it ignites, it blazes, it consumes. The flame both warms us and often burns us. Sometimes the blaze purifies, sometimes it scars; sometimes it empowers, sometimes it reduces to ashes. If there were a sure-fire way of only experiencing the happier aspects of love, more people would love more freely! But love is dangerous: like dynamite or wine.  
Given the danger, so many people go through life hiding from love. O, underneath the cool exterior there are hearts filled with the desire to love and be loved, but they keep that longing in a box, buried deeply, far away from the risk that comes with bringing their longings to the surface and into the light. But this is not living as God created us to live. For, if we live this way, while we will be safe from pain and suffering, we shall also be safely shut away from truly living.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2013 

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