ISN'T it possible that each activity of our day, and every relationship, can be benefited by a deeper understanding of God as Love? We often seem to get caught up in an emotional kind of love, dependent on temperaments or moods. The rising and falling of affection between family members, friends, or workers remind us of the unhappiness as well as the pleasure in personal relationships. Gaining a clearer understanding of love and its actual source, divine Love, we can find effective help for our relationships.
A way to begin may be to open our thought to discarding mistaken concepts of love -- to stop thinking of it as a personal commodity that can be withheldor doled out at whim. Yes, it does seemas if personal relationships involve various phases of love. But that's the human sense of things, with which we seem to wrestle, and which we can learn to replace in thought and practice with God's love. Far from depriving us of anything, this will enrich our lives, uplift and harmonize them.
Many years ago I experienced a sad breakup. The aftermath found me moving back to my native state and transferring to another college. Just before the start of the new term I decided to spend a couple of weeks with friends who lived far away. These two people were so full of joy that it naturally spilled over and included me. When it was time to return home, I was heartbroken. I had felt so safe there, so happy and loved. All of a sudden I didn't want to leave. To go back meant I would be alone and have to start facing a new life.
The morning I was to leave I was in tears, and my friend said, ``Whatever it is you think you've found here, take it back with you.'' This pointed to the essence of the problem. Love seemed to me a personal quality that some expressed and others didn't. But I was helped by beginning to realize that love was with me regardless of my place or those with me. I caught a glimpse of love that is of God, not of man. Strengthened, I went home and boldly took the next step forward.
The Bible teaches that man is made in God's image. Our true selfhood, then, must be the spiritual likeness of our creator. Isn't it logical to conclude that this identity includes all the qualities of God's nature, such as love, joy, purity, strength, wisdom? In a very profound sense, man has no ability to withdraw expression of one of these qualities, because they're inherent in his identity. And nothing has the ability to strip them away from man. Our need is to realize more deeply this spiritual reality, even though at times it may seem distant or irrelevant. If man is in God's infinite presence, then he is in the company of Love at all times. This is the truth of our being and relevant to our experience now. We don't have to continue suffering the upheavals of emotional love. We can claim God's love as a present and valid part of our experience and, as a result, see a harmonizing of our lives and relationships.
We may feel love is missing, and try to outline how and when it should come into view. But we might consider instead that God is omnipresent, loving, and merciful. Isn't the best course to look to Him first? Jeremiah represents God as saying, ``I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.''1 God's love for His offspring is not an abstraction. It provides comfort and healing.
Don't Christ Jesus' unequaled healing ministry and his enduring of the cross point to an understanding of love infinitely beyond a limited, human sense of love? He showed how our well-being is dependent on God. Isn't this ultimately what we need to realize?
Trading in an emotionally-based concept of love for a spiritual view may seem a radical step. But it's an inevitable one, and it can only enrich our happiness; it doesn't deprive us of genuine love.
Sensualism must be guarded against. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, observes: ``Sensualism is not bliss, but bondage. For true happiness, man must harmonize with his Principle, divine Love; the Son must be in accord with the Father, in conformity with Christ.''2 Striving for Christlike affection prepares us to recognize and renounce the impostures of love -- those animalistic feelings that often pose as affection.
Armed with God's love, we start off today in the company of Love. And maybe during the day, sharing that precious company, we'll help another feel less alone.
1Jeremiah 31:3. 2Science and Health with Key to The Scriptures, p. 337. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Keep yourselves in the love of God. Jude 1:21