On June 23rd, I spoke at Woodland Hills Church (Greg Boyd’s church. He was up at The Meeting House stirring up trouble I hear) on the topic of Love. Give a listen. Below is a great summary ripped right off their web site. If you are interested, head on over to their site and listen to or view all the awesomeness that’s there. Oh and say hi for me.
In our culture, love is often misunderstood. Love is a feeling, which is only understood when we fall in love. It bubbles up from the heart, and isn’t something that can easily be explained. And oftentimes we act on our emotions. When we are angry, we like to express that anger. When we are happy, we like to dance around and smile more. When we are sad, we mope and don’t feel any energy towards others. We are an emotion-controlled society.
Emotions are not bad. We should listen to our emotions and use them to help us choose the correct course. But we shouldn’t just react off our emotions. We must take the next step of using our emotions, intellect, and will to make the right choice. We cannot command our emotions, but we can command our choices.
God calls us to love because God is love. This seems difficult, because how can a person feel love all the time? This is where choice comes in. We can choose love regardless of how we feel. Jesus wasn’t feeling happy-go-lucky when he was dying on the cross, but he did choose love.
Our theology should be led by love. Whenever we think and study God, we should always view God as love. This means that we don’t say God is justice and love, but rather, we say that God is love and loves through justice. In a lot of theology, God’s attributes are given equal weight to God’s love, instead of being interpreted through God’s love. Whenever we encounter a picture of God that doesn’t look loving, we need to question that picture against the love that is portrayed on Calvary.
Our relationships should be led by love. It is easy to let emotions lead us in our relationships. If we are offended or hurt by someone, we tend to treat them in kind. If we are treated well by someone, we return it with goodwill. But Jesus calls us to love everyone, including those who would persecute us. And the only way to do this is to choose to love, and not let our emotions make the choice for us.
Letting love lead is the greatest commandment that we receive from Jesus. It is also one of the most difficult. Commanding our choices is essential to loving others, and we shouldn’t let our emotions decide our choices. They can play a part and give us information on a situation, but we should always reflect what our intellect and faith tell us to do as well. In this way, we can choose to clothe ourselves in love.
- How have you seen emotions choosing your actions in your life? When have you acted out of emotions and later regretted it or knew that you should have acted differently?
- Bruxy said that we can’t command our emotions but we can command our decisions. Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Why?
- How does Calvary show us that love is a choice?
- In what areas have you seen your theology influenced by your emotions?
- In what areas have you seen your relationships influenced by emotion?