Sunday, February 17, 2008

Expressions of Love

When you mention the word “love” what’s the first thing that comes into your mind? I believe that it all depends on what perspective you are looking at. In 1976, researcher John Lee conducted extensive interviews with people to discover what the word "love" meant to them. He learned, of course, that love means different things to different people. Lee concluded that humans think of love in six separate ways. He labeled these love forms with Greek nouns. Eros Love: Eros refers to the romantic love that has tremendous passion, physical longing, deep intensity, and intimacy. Ludas Love: Ludas is called game-playing love. It is like the love of a knight for a princess. There are playful interactions here but little intimacy or deep intensity. Storge Love: Storge exemplifies friendship-based love. There is strong companionship and shared values here but little physical intimacy. Pragma Love: Pragma, a combination of storge and ludus love, refers to practical or logical love in which someone actively searches for a partner with certain characteristics. Mania Love: Mania is a combination of eros and ludus love. It is also known as the troubled love. This love has jealousy and dependence (often called co-dependency), great intensity, some intimacy, and many psychological symptoms related to the relationship. Agape Love: Agape is also a blend of two other types of love, eros and storge. This is the love of altruism, of giving without asking anything in return, and of sacrificing oneself for one's partner. Many would consider it to be the purest form of love.

In the New Testament, God’s expression of love is “agape”. It is described in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV) Jesus Christ exemplified it when he died on the cross to manifest God’s love for humanity. It is also best illustrated in this story of a boy and his mother’s exchange of letters, “Our little boy came up to his mother in the kitchen one evening while she was fixing supper, and he handed her a piece of paper that he had been writing on. After his mom dried her hands on an apron, she read it, and this is what it said: For cutting the grass $5.00; for cleaning up my room this week $1.00; for going to the store for you $.50; baby-sitting my kid brother while you went shopping $.25; taking out the garbage $1.00; for getting a good report card $5.00; for cleaning up and raking the yard $2.00; total owed: $14.75. Well, I'll tell you, his mother looked at him standing there expectantly, and boy, could I see the memories flashing through her mind. So she picked up the pen, turned over the paper he'd written on, and this is what she wrote: for the nine months I carried you while you were growing inside me, No Charge. For all the nights that I've sat up with you, doctored and prayed for you, No Charge. For all the trying times, and all the tears that you've caused through the years, there's No Charge. When you add it all up, the cost of my love is No Charge. For all the nights that were filled with dread, and for the worries I knew were ahead, No Charge. For the toys, food, clothes, and even wiping your nose, there's No Charge, Son. And when you add it all up, the full cost of real love is No Charge. Well, friends, when our son finished reading what his mother had written, there were great big old tears in his eyes, and he looked straight up at his mother and said, "Mom, I sure do love you." And then he took the pen and in great big letters he wrote: "PAID IN FULL."

Therefore, when you feel that love is lacking in your life, always remember what God has done and I guarantee that you will feel alright. He loved us with an everlasting love without any charge except on His account. It is an immeasurable love that keeps on loving even when we don’t deserve it yet God showed it through His Son. When you want to understand God’s love for us, just look at the cross and remember that Jesus died because we are loved. As the song says, “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so...”

Let’s talk again!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Treasures of the Heart

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21, NIV) What the hearts beats is the direction of one’s life. Just look at someone who falls madly in love, how all of their breathing moments is spent on sighing and looking forward to seeing their special someone. There is a sense of excitement in every task done and anticipation of an upcoming meeting. It is a great feeling. All of us had it. They are like treasures of gold and diamonds that no one could steal away. Love is one of those treasures that keep any man or woman going. It is love that inspires and motivates anyone to pursue a task even with great sacrifices on their part; to make a person smile and provide comfort during a difficult situation is truly an evidence of love at work.

What we keep in our heart is what defines us today, tomorrow and into eternity. We are measured by them for by it we are inspired to achieve our dreams and goals. But anything done without love is stressful. That is what causes our physical heart to fail and our body to experience fatigue. Actually, doing any given task whether small or huge done with love causes anyone to do anything cheerfully and with extraordinary joy. This is what many of our Overseas Filipino workers have. They have sacrificed leaving their family to provide better life in another country because of love. Family is their treasure to be taken care of. That is why we have to evaluate what is in our heart that we treasure. We need to check what we consider as our treasure(s). I believe that when we do, our priorities will be renewed over again.

Let me illustrate with this story I came across, “Knowing he would die soon, a rich man had all his assets converted into gold bars, put them in a big bag on his bed, draped his body over the bag of gold, and breathed his last. When he woke up, he was at the gate of Heaven. Saint Peter met him at the gate and with a concerned look on his face said, "Well, I see you actually managed to get here with something from earth! But unfortunately, you can't bring that in." "Oh please, sir," said the man. "I must have it. It means everything to me." "Sorry, my friend," said Saint Peter. "If you want to keep that bag, then I'm afraid you'll have to go to, you know, the other place. You don't want to go there, believe me." "Well, I won't part with this bag." "Have it your way," returned Peter. "But before you go, would you mind if I looked in the bag to see what it is that you're willing to trade eternal life for?" "Sure," said the man. "You'll see. I could never part with this." Saint Peter looked in the bag and with a puzzled look on his face said to the man, "You're willing to go to hell for... pavement?"

What a funny story, yet it speaks truth. Remember that the greatest treasure to keep that will only last forever is our relationship with God. It must stand the test of time and any difficult circumstances. This should be the only motivation in all our endeavors: to please God. When we do, everything else follows.

What's coming between you and God? Your money? Your possessions? Your status? Your friends? Your fun? You may be sure that none of it can compare with what God has prepared for you as stated in 1 Corinthians 2:9, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (NIV). To sum it all up: loving God and loving others fulfills the greatest commandment of the Scriptures. This must be the treasures of our heart and everything else will follow.

One last thing, if you must know what God treasures in his heart since the creation of the world and up to the present time even to eternity, it is simply stated in John 3:16a, “For God so loved the world…”

Let’s talk again!