Monday, November 14, 2016

What meaning can there be in a love that is not costly to the lover?

This question was given to me, a week or two ago, and it took about 5 days to answer.  Not that it was so difficult as it was difficult to come to understand the question. So I waited and waited for God to make clear what he would have me respond.  After five days I got up one Saturday Morning ready to address the question. Below is an excerpt from my response, which caused me and I would suggest us all to introspectively consider or reconsider not our love, but our hate for our brother man.

Luke 10:30
A traveler was beaten and robbed and left near dead
 I don’t want to be mistaken, when I first read the question I was completely stumped. Not so much by the question as I was syntax of the question which if inferred incorrectly will naturally reach an undesirable conclusion. Fearful that my solution would be err due to my ignorance, I re-framed from any antiphon choosing not to try to befuddle you with Bull****, in an attempt to display my prideful brilliance. In short I had no clue how to answer the question.

However, I woke up this morning and my mind had finally consummated the relationship with the syntax of the question and God by his Holy Spirit had spoken to me concerning it.  I would answer no one else the way I’m about to answer you, so no matter how convoluted it appears, please see this answer a testimony of faith in your intellectual, and spiritual ability to decipher the intricacies that would cause general laity to stumble. That being said I will answer this question from three different views, either of which can be read and accepted without any collateral connection to the other two views. So then if you find an acceptable answer for one there may be no need to read further the remaining two views. 

Luke 10:31
Now by chance a priest was going down that road,
and when he saw him he passed by on the other side
1.       Biblical View, the Bible puts some very high standards as to what love is, even though every Christian will profess love is an action most treat love as though it is an emotion. It is one thing to act as if love is an action; and another thing to get emotionally confused with what God has left very clear. It is this confusion, which is clearly availed to us that becomes the root of all misunderstanding about Biblical Love.
a.       Love as an action;  So than the first thing we must do is answer from a works issue, not and emotional issue. The biblical passages for this are numerous in John 14:15, Jesus says “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Which is a perfect expression of love as a work … that we keep His commandments. This is seen in a number of other scriptural passages as well (John 3:16, John 14:24, Romans 5:8, 1 John 3:18). There are other passages which instructs us to love, as an action, (Luke 6:35, Matthews 5:44, Ephesians 5:25, Mark 12:31) this is understood as such because we cannot be instructed to feel a certain way or have a specific emotions.  Therefore we must conclude that love is as the Bible teaches an action. 

Consider the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 30:37, I used it to teach the difference between knowing and understanding Love as an action. I sometimes ask two question after reading or telling this parable.
  i.      The first question is who loved the man, the answer is easy for everyone in the room.  “It is the Good Samaritan which loved the man.
 ii.      However, when I ask who hated the man, in a room full of supposed mature Christians, none could/would figure it out. To say that a priest or Levitt hated the man just because they did not help him is inconceivable to most people and so in spite of what we logically know we deny the obvious. But if love is an action, and is the opposite of hate, then hate has to be a lack of action, which is the opposite of action, this is why James says "to know what is right and don't do it, is sin (James 4:17)
b.      Confusing cost with forgiveness.
I was given passage of John 3:16  (as a starting point in reaching a solution to the initial question) which reads “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” But this passage is not a passage about love, even though it has love in the passage. John 3:16 is a passage on forgiveness. It would be perfectly applicable if the question read What meaning can there be in a forgiveness that is not costly to the forgiver?” In that I cannot find a single issue in the Bible or in life for that matter, where the cost of forgiveness is not carried by the forgiver. More importantly the forgiver must pay the cost of forgiveness at the point of offense and again at the point of forgiveness.

c.       Does Love Cost the Lover
However, the question is the cost of love to the lover. If we assume the biblical understanding for love (as an action), then we must understand that love by its nature will always cost, because every action cost something, weather it is time, money or even kindness. Any intercourse with a person, (positive or negatively)  for their benefit will accrue a cost to the lover.

It is important to realize where in forgiveness there is necessarily an offense and offender, with love there is only necessarily the lover (giver of the love) and the recipient (of the love) no offense is required. As a matter of fact if an offense is transgressed against the lover than the love become an act of forgiveness, and the lover becomes the forgiver.  This is exceedingly important because we know the love of the God existed before Adam’s transgression, and was not motivated by his transgression. Whereby the forgiveness (Christ on the cross) came after the transgression, since forgiveness cannot come before the transgression.

That being said the accruing of cost for love is at the willing discretion of the lover. Remember the Good Samaritan? That which he accrued was not at the compulsion of the beaten traveler, nor the priest, nor the Levitt, nor did the robbers that subdue the traveler, none of these compelled the Samaritan to love his neighbor. (Romans 3:12, 1John 3:17) Moreover none of them transgressed against the Lover (Good Samaritan) but his altruistic behavior was by the light of Christ within him. (Isaiah 58:10).

John 4:8 tells us God is love, this is greater than giving love or loving. It defines God as the personification of what Love is.  Since God’s very nature is love, He demonstrates His love by lavishing it on undeserving, rebellious, deceitful people (us). Yet His love was given to us before the foundation of the earth! Therefore we who are in Christ and filled with His Holy Spirit, will naturally bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit of which is love. (Galatians 5:22)  Since this love of God which shines through us is altruistic in nature we will bear that cost.

d.      In Conclusion,
If love has no cost to the lover, than we must conclude Biblically that whatever it is that is expressed by the lover is not love.

Luke 10:32 
 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place
and saw him, passed by on the other side

2.       Logically Philosophical View; the question is much more a philosophical question than spiritual or biblical question. It may have Biblical and spiritual overtones, but it for the most part this is a philosophical question.  So then, we address this question as such; logically the question assumes two things
a.       (1) that right love is costly to the lover, (a view I 100% believe is true, and clearly defend in later explanations to this very question and support my arguments with scripture), and...
b.      (2) That by lover we are only addressing the giver of love not the receiver of the love. The answer become diametrically different, by the acceptance or denial of the second premise such that it must be
That being said, I think it is important to define the necessary assumption(s) and the argument to reach a conclusion.  Assumption 1, (right love is costly).  Assumption 2, (love has meaning), respectively, I define argument an a demonstration of a proof of a statement.

c.       Premise 1. Love is costly, believing the Bible is the final word (Sola Scriptura) this is not a debatable premise for me and is seen always as absolutely true.
                                                               i.      However, we must define lover as the giver of the love, not the receiver because love does not cost the receiver anything (Romans 5:8)[i] and addressing the subject to anyone but the love will make this premise false.

d.      Premise 2 Love has meaning, the problem with this premise is that meaning cannot be determined in hard structure. By nature meaning is relative to every individual differently. What has meaning (value) to one person may have nothing of value to another. Even if taken from a theological perspective we may confuse meaning with God’s sovereign will. God the lover of our soul, loved us, but does this have meaning to Him or is it the result of His sovereign will, or is it simple an expression of who He is His very nature ?( John 4:8)  I don’t have to rehash basic theology in that none of us deserve His love, yet in spite of our deceitfulness, and rebellion He still loves us.

But can a man love someone altruistically and not receive love in return? Or to make this easier can love be given to even someone that does not deserve it and still be rejected?  Did Jesus die so that some may be saved or all? Yet to those that reject the gospel and the love of God we must conclude for them His love is meaningless. John 3:17-21[ii]

e.       Conclusion
Yes love is costly to the giver of the love, but cost nothing to the receiver, and love may  or may not have meaning, though we might assume that it has value (meaning) to the giver, we cannot assume that any meaning is expressively true of the receiver.

Luke 10:33-35
But it was the Samaritan took the time to bound the traveler's
wounds, and paid the innkeeper to provide for the stranger.
costing him both his time and money.
It was the Samaritan that loved him
3.       Post-Modernity View
post modernity (how the world operates today) takes on the view that there is no absolutes truths. On top of this being just wrong, (2 +2 =4 is an absolute truth) this type of thinking replaces truth with opinion. This is especially true of issues as they relate to religion and spirituality. The postmodern man/women when confronted with truth regarding the reality of God, morality, and religion will respond with “That may be true for you, but not for me” to those postmodern that say they acknowledge a God they confess spirituality but not religion, a loving God that will forgive, without repentance, and most importantly they will deny the deity of Jesus Christ, saying He is just a good man or He never existed.

While a personal preference mindset has its value when dealing with art or favorite foods or movies, this mindset is dangerous when it is applied to reality because it confuses matters of opinion with matters of truth, it releases the individual from an external moral center  which holds his action accountable to anyone outside of himself and decays society in general.  Jesus spoke of this in Mathew 24:37 and Luke 17:26, as of his second coming, but this eschatology does not remain the premises of Christology alone, Scientific Eschatology has affirmed what scripture has said for thousands of years (see second law of thermodynamics)  that the moral decay of humanity is not just a possibility but a reality. It has already happened and according to Jesus Christ will happen again.  Genesis 6:5-6.
So than, from a postmodern view the answer is whatever the individual want the answer to be. As long as the subject’s feeling are not hurt, or they don't  have to answer to anyone but themselves then anything and everything is possible.

your brother in Christ
TCharves FireSpeaks

[i] “ But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
[ii] 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the [a]only begotten Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

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