I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the topic of love lately. It’s Advent season and Love is one of concepts given to a week of Advent. As I’ve spent some time thinking and praying over the topic I’ve decided that love is too big of a topic. It is something not easily defined with words.
Every culture has a definition for love. Some have more than one. Check this out:
Most English speakers define love as an intense feeling of affection or an emotion. If you think about it, ideas of love permeate our culture in movies, books, music and art. It is one of the most common themes. There are different kinds of love, interpersonal: between people, impersonal: between a person and an object, there are scientific understandings of love, styles given to love, and theories of love. Religions also carry with them various understandings of love.
Christianity, much of the time equates love to, agape, one of many greek words for love. Agape love is a love that is charitable, altruistic and unconditional. It is a kind of love that creates goodness and is reciprocal between God and people.
A Jewish understanding of love holds a much larger view of love. Love is given between people and between God and people. The idea of loving your neighbor as your self and Loving God with all your heart, mind and soul. So basically love is, in the Jewish understanding, expressed with good deeds, willingness to sacrifice one’s life, willingness to sacrifice one’s possessions and being grateful to the Lord despite adversity.
Many other religious views see love only in terms of pleasure and therefore are filled with sexual concepts and ideas. Indulging these desires is a gift to their god.
As I continued to peruse articles, books, websites my understanding of love got more clouded from the pure love I was wanting to describe. Love as a concept has so many definitions and interpretations. And although there are many definitions for love, our personal understanding of love is greatly influenced by how we were and are loved by others.
Love is BIG! Love is misunderstood. Love is at the core of human desire. Love is expressed. Love is withheld. Love is given. Love is received. Love is… you fill in the blank.
How do you define love? I’m still figuring this one out.