Healing Power

Running commentary on how Jesus' Healing Power is affecting my life - and helping me to help others.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Love - Verb or Noun?

I've sat through endless sermons on how the English word love is so encompassing that it has lost all meaning. This is not one of them, but I will borrow some of their ideas.

Love is most often used as a noun. But we Christians are called to use it as a verb. I love you. In that sentence, which we often use in our Christian walk, love is a verb. The subject is I and the object is you. This is what I wish to focus on. We have lost touch with the active nature of love.

When we, as Christians, say to another person, "I love you", we are expressing an action - a delivering of something like charity - between the giver and the recipient. Love is the act of delivering the charity or tenderness or passion.

Since it is an action, it is something we can choose whether or not we are going to do it. For example, if I don't feel like walking to the bathroom when nature calls, there will be consequences. I may either wind up running or making a puddle. It is such an important part of life that we who are potty-trained no longer think about it. We just do it.

Likewise, we can choose whether or not we are going to love someone. Loving is a choice, not a feeling. If I don't feel like loving someone, it my choice not to act upon my call, as a Christian, to deliver charity to that person. Can I love a sinner? Does it depend on the nature of the sin? Can I love a murderer but not love a drunk? Can I love a church-going adulterer but not love the abortion-rights activist? It is my choice. If I am obeying Christ, however, I need to always choose yes. It's not easy.

Choosing to love someone, regardless of how you feel about that person, is our commandment. "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." That means, we must act on love as a verb, not a noun. Whether the love is there or not, we can create it. We call upon God to put the love in our hearts for those we feel do not deserve our love. The guy who raped your sister. The preacher who rejected Christ and became an atheist comedian ridiculing Christians until his death. The spouse who had an affair.

Ooh - that last one may hit a nerve. That goes way beyond our scope, doesn't it? That says "I have to love [verb] my spouse, too?" Yes, it's true. Love in marriage is not a feeling - a noun, it's an action - a verb. Steven Covey, on the tapes for "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" talked about this. (I'm sorry, Mr. Covey, I no longer have the tapes from which to make a proper reference.) He talked about how a man mentioned to him that he no longer feels love for his wife and was, therefore, getting a divorce. Covey replied, "then love her." In marriage, as well as in our Christian walk, we are called to love (verb) our spouses. (is the plural of spouse spice?)

There is no such thing as a loveless marriage. If there is no love, it is your choice. It is also going to be your choice to love again. How can you love a spouse for whom you no longer feel love? The same way you love anyone else for whom you do not feel love. You pray about it. You ask God to put the feeling in your heart. You ask God to knock down the walls of bitterness and hatred that Satan has built around you. You generate the love with God's help.

My friends, I ask you, as Christ commanded, to love one another. Whether or not you feel love is moot. Love your neighbor. Love your spouse.


  • At 4:18 PM, Blogger NChitwood said…

    oh clay! that is SUCH A POWERFUL blog! great reminder and great explanations! proud of you boy! i agree with EVERY word. there are many days that i have to decide that i am going to love andy (and same goes for him, i'm sure!). i CHOSE to marry him, i CHOSE to accept him for ALL that he is, and I CHOSE to follow Christ and to LISTEN to his commands when it comes to my life as andy's wife. Loving andy is not always easy, but is always commanded. And i have found over the years that when i mentally choose to love him, then it becomes easier emotionally to love him too. and as it becomes emotionally better, then it becomes physically better....etc etc ---i'll spare the rest!lol but you know what i'm saying. i think that it all boils down to entitlement. we feel entitled to be loved, but don't want to GIVE love in return. that is soooo backwards from what God asks of us. He wants us to give love EVEN IF we don't get it back. talk about HARD! anyway....once again---great job!!


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