Friday, February 19, 2010

The Lost Art of Relationships

The world seems to be in a whole lot of confusion and deception when it comes to the subject of relationships. There are tons of people out there that have been deeply hurt in this area. There are a whole lot of people out there who are desperate for love and acceptance. Sexuality in our society have been grossly mistreated. There are so many wrong things being done in the name of love that many people don't have any concept of what love is really suppose to be.

Love is not subjective to be defined by each person individually. All love is not God. God is love and therefore love should be defined by his truth and principles. Love outside the truth and principles of God is not what love is suppose to be. Now I am not saying that someone outside God's truth doesn't feel love. Love is most certainly a feeling and a emotion that is inherent to all mankind. But love is also a command from God. So that tells me that there are rules and boundaries that go with that command to define what it is suppose to look like. It also means that we are able to control it.

A command is given to provoke a response. When given a command a person can choose to do it or not to do it. The will is involved. So if we are commanded by God to love that means that we have the ability to love or not to love. It is not based solely on emotion. If it was how could we ever love our enemies? We are commanded to love those that we would otherwise have no emotion for. That means in some circumstances we have the ability to not love a person we otherwise have feelings for.

Love is so broad and not easily defined. We love different people in our lives in different ways. I think what gets confusing is what is appropriate for each type of relationship. We often hear of three types of love taken from the ancient Greek. There is the unconditional love of God. This is generally known as agape love. There is brotherly love known as phileo. Finally erotic/sexual love called eros. What confuses things is that the Greek word eros is no where in the new testament. Moreover the words agape and phileo are used interchangeably with no clear definition of the two. The word agape is used to describe the love we should have for our enemy as well as our spouse. Two polar opposites in terms of relationship!

So how should these loves be demonstrated to a particular person? What should my expectations be from that person? What should their expectations be from me? What type of physically contact is appropriate? When is it OK to be physical attracted to someone? When is it OK to be sexually attracted to someone? So I have come up with and identified six types of relationships that I think are pretty common to most everyone. {see pic above} Each has a different degree of intimacy. Therefore each has a different set of boundries. I will give each "relationship" its own specific post on this blog over the next few days. For now lets start off by defining LOVE. What should be the basic attributes of love according to Gods truth and principles?

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not selfish, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrong. Love does not delight in sin, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always believes, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1Cor. 13:4-8a

This is the classic biblical definition of love. When we love this is what is suppose to look like. But we all know that this is not what a lot of love does look like. So when we see "love never fails" it is easy to say "yeah right!". Like I said earlier...many of us have deep hurts and wounds caused by so called love. But try to keep in mind that love does not fail; it's people who fail to love. Which is the exact reason this needs to be discussed. We don't want to be a person who loves according to man's standards. We want to be people that love according to God's truth.


Here is an overview of all the "relationships".  This is not carved in stone, just a guide.  Thought in may be helpful to see the comparison of the "relationships" side by side.

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