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Christian Counseling - A Love That Changes Everything

Forever there will be writers and speakers telling of the almost unending things a couple can do to rekindle love, romance and sexuality. Sometimes it only takes a spark to ignite the flame, but more often it is only a flash in the pan experience. One key to having a lasting effect is a person's thoughts need to be seated in a reality that permits the feelings to join in. Humanly speaking, there is no greater motivator than feelings. Without them, most will cease behaving in ways the mind and its commitments esteem. If a person thinks he or she simply needs to suck it up, endure negative feelings and do what's right, it is unlikely that any good, reinforcing feelings will follow. That attitude is one of legalism that lacks a good motive, is short-lived and often expects the other to change or reciprocate. Perhaps worse yet, are others who wait for their feelings to shift or change first in order to move toward a relationship. This waiting is futile. So, what's the answer?

For us as imperfect humans the answer is also imperfect, but it has considerable power and hope--unconditional love! You may ask, "Isn't that the same as what you previously cautioned against--acting lovingly without feeling, which is legalistic?" Here's the difference. The attitude and thinking aren't the same. Let me redefine unconditional love. Scripture refers to it as agape (a Greek word) love--the unmatched, higher state of love that is a decisional process, separate from feeling love (that's phileo-Greek for affection). Unconditional love is birthed when a person resolutely decides to care for the welfare of another without any conditions or getting something in return. The person is free from want and self to give to another as an act of grace, not a legalistic "have to" or "should."

This is how God loves. When we act in similar manner we begin to be enlightened and profoundly moved by the experience. We then know first hand how God loves us, it becomes personal. His love is based on who we are, not what we do. We exist, He commits and we are forever loved and His emotions follow suit. We are significantly changed by the experience of giving unconditional love, which is founded on the attitude that the giving is for life, regardless of what happens in the relationship, even if the other should abandon it. We many not give that love to the other because he or she ended the relationship, but the willingness and some of the desire to do so never comes to an end. Unconditional love is eternal, not temporary or based on experience or the attitude or behavior of the receiver.

Agape love provides a surprising sense of being emotionally protected in giving. It's givers are considerably free from fear of being hurt. Not that they won't be, but it will not crush them. There exists a spiritual dimension in us that knows God has experienced the hurt, knows it full well and comes along side of us that altogether limit the effects of pain and loss. This happens in part because about one-half of all pain is about being alone in our pain, which ends with God being with us and for us. When we surrender to loving as God loves (the best we can) a rich storehouse of pleasurable emotions join the mind and together send us on the ride of a lifetime. Good feelings of love, self-respect and freedom pave the way for continued loving action, but this love is not dependent on emotions for its actions.

Most recipients of this love are drawn by the irresistible attraction of unconditional acceptance and caring that is independent of their flaws and imperfect lives. There are very few who are not awakened, changed and freed by such a love. Think for yourself, isn't this love something you desire? It exists in all of us.

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Anonymous wrote:
I meant to mention this column tonight. I think I will be reading it daily for a while. Thank you.

11/12/2010 @ 2:32 AM

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