not to over-extend human thought processes and emotional composition but i totally understand why God would want us to love him of our own accord (i think in this case “over-extension” consists in also attributing the neediness and insecurity we experience to God).

i mean, consider the love (if we’re lucky) we have for and receive from our parents. now compare that love to the love that you’ve received from a spouse, girlfriend or special someone you are attracted to. it can be argued that this second type of ‘love’, is sometimes superficial and purely emotional and feeling-based, but when it’s real actual Love, can there be any contest between the two?

in the risk of taking the analogy too far i’ll present the question: isn’t this similar to the case between our love for ourselves and the often competing love for God?

in the case of family love vs. marital love i see a situation where a natural type of love is pitted against, not an unnatural love, but a more chosen type of love. here’s where you get the saying “friends (and you can add lovers to this) are the family that you choose.” the reason why romantic love has such an impact on our emotional state, as compared to love from our family, is the aspect of choice. in the same way, we are born with a natural love for ourselves. our instinct tells us, almost forces us, to look out for our own well-being, regardless of how twisted our motives for doing so might sometimes be (e.g. body-image vs actual health). but enter God, who calls us to die to ourselves, the last thing our natural selves want to do and choose Him instead. Jesus said that when we marry we are to leave our fathers and mothers behind to be with our lover. We are to let go of a natural love to enter into a chosen relationship with what is now a part of us. Does this make any sense?

on top of that it turns out that this second type of love (in both cases) might in fact be more ‘natural’, the type we were made for. the reason i say this is that in most cases, if you choose to hold on to the first type of love, you will in fact have neither, but if you let go of the first to gain the second, you are given both.

here’s how i see it. let’s say you’re married. and for some reason, whenever their wishes contradict each other, you choose to honor the wishes of your mother over your spouse, every time. in this case you are choosing to hold on to the love that you were born into, as opposed to this new love that you have entered. i argue that in this case, you would have neither the love of your wife (who, by the way, will probably think you’re a total momma’s-boy and wonder why she married you in the first place), nor the love and respect of your mother, who will forever see you as a momma’s boy (and wonder why you would marry and leaver her in the first place). but if you choose instead to honor your spouse, though i agree that sometimes listening to your mom in terms of marriage advice might not be such a bad idea, and are a good husband/wife and seek to love them in the way they are to be loved, you will receive both the love and respect of your spouse, as well as a continued relationship (and healthy) with your family.

c.s. lewis said that God asks us to give Him ourselves so that he can give us our Selves back. our true selves, the people and personalities we were made to be and to have. but if we always choose the selfish love that we naturally have, i submit that in the end we will neither have the relationship we were made for nor the original love for ourselves. in the end, we’ll find that all the years of selfishness will have made us into something that even we cannot love, and what will become of us then?

i don’t mean to bash on the love that we receive from our families. in fact, i believe that the enduring and almost unconditional quality of family love shows us another, very important aspect of God’s own love for us. but i also think there’s a reason why there is so much erotic imagery associated with the Gospel (i.e. the Church as the Bride of Christ and Jesus as lover, etc…), and honestly, i totally feel you on this one God.

p.s. and of course this all exemplifies what was said in my philosophy book about the Philosophy of Religion:

‘When philosophy becomes concerned with religion without God, is this talk about love, without talk of the beloved? We are in love; analysis seems to petrify the passion; mayber the passion is already dead by the time analysis rears its head. When I am in love, I sing the beloved. When I analyze and ask if I am in love, I am no longer in love. I may even think I am now in a superior position, for after all, now I am in charge, putting the question. I am no longer intoxicated with my love. Am I in a better situation? Perhaps when I loved, then I was at home. Now I am loveless, but I think I am in a better place.’

(it terms of the romantic aspect of what i was talking about, i think i’m doing alright in the God part haha)


~ by justinhong on November 9, 2007.

5 Responses to “”

  1. yeah i have been relating the ideas of god’s love to our love and i feel like the christian aspect of love is a very different one. the idea that love isnt based on feeling rather than a foundation of faith is pretty crazy. faith is based kinda on your mind and in our religious aspect the idea of our soul linked with the holy spirit. Feelings are more of your heart or more like the thousands of receptors in your brain. the idea to trust one more than the other for us is easier because of our belief in god, but i wonder what secular people think about love as not a feeling. Maybe older adults have realized this as well.

  2. hi there

  3. …………… huh?!anyway, after skimming most of that, i barely understood anything… except the mother in law over spouse thing really caught my attention! that’s my biggest fear…. the asian momma’s boy’s in-laws…… yet somehow i always end up gravitating towards mommas boys. dammit!

  4. sorry if my writing’s hard to understand :(haha momma’s boys, poor daphne.

  5. no i DONT want to marry a relative. but just in case i never get married and i adopt a child. his name.. tedford lam.. rolls off the tongue. are you really just staying at home reading and philosophizing? that must be nice.

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