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I'm taking a course by Ravi Zacharias Institute, and recently watched a wonderful lesson on the Trinity and the impact that has on how we see relationship and love. A fellow student started a conversation about how our culture, in particular for men, encourages us to hide or suppress our emotions, and showing love being a part of that. Being authors, this perhaps doesn't relate to you as much as others in our society, but I wanted to see what your thoughts were. 

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If you lesson to the news, there only two types of people, and both think the other is wrong. One being an older, almost British stiff upper lip, and the other being feelings are all that matter.

 

However, the vast majority of people fall in the middle of that. (I being one) We believe that there is a time and place for everything, and that includes your feels. 

 

The Bible is very clear that our heart (feelings) is deceptive, and we must guard against being deceived. 

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Oops. I misspoke. There is an institute in Atlanta... I'm taking online courses from what they call the RZIM Academy, not institute... 🤗 

 

I think it's pretty new. It's online courses, though they want you to start with a basic course they call the Core Module, but after that, they have elective classes you can take. I think you can actually get college credit for the Core Module... The class is set up to where you get two video lessons with great speakers, then a quiz each week - about two hours worth time - and a few assignment over the 12 week course. Then there are chat forums for questions and interactions with the other students and a class moderator - I think there's around 80 students in my class, and they are literally from all over the globe - across nearly all continents. It's really great. 

 

https://www.rzim.org/training/rzim-academy/about-academy

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Posted (edited)

I think that love, real solid love, reaches far beyond the expressing of emotions. Emotion may be one useful way to express it, but that can also be a smokescreen, merely giving the illusion that love is there. There are other expressions that are far richer.

 

When someone shops or cooks a meal for a sick friend, they're showing real love. When a less-mature friend spouts off and is rude, mean, or generally out of line, love may be expressed by what someone does not do, so love can be almost invisible, except to the most sharp eyed.

 

Love can be right in front of us, but taken for granted. That friend who remembers your birthday, takes the time to send a card, who checks up on you for no reason, and who encourages when you need it may not be appreciated nearly as much as they deserve to be.

 

I might suggest that love is less an emotion to be expressed and more a way of life to be embraced.  It's a lifetime learning experience, it's hard, and in the ultimate irony, it's probably more enriching than anything else we can find. For a light version of love, we can express some emotion, and be pleased. For a solid version of love, we can look at the cross and be amazed.

Edited by Wes B
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I like the balance spoken of. @Alley, and love is so much more than an emotion, great answer, @Wes B. Here is what I replied. I'd love to have your take on it. 

 

 

I can't agree with you more that many in our culture have been taught that emotions are for sissies and to hide it at all cost. It's sadly backwards. I truly believe true men shed tears. One of my favorite passages is "Jesus wept". Have you ever considered it? It's in the book of John, in the story of raising Lazarus from the dead. Jesus already knows he's going to raise him from the dead, he even told his disciples in so many words. He specifically stayed away so that Lazarus would be dead when he arrived. He'd already resurrected someone before, so the disciples had seen it done before as well... But when he gets there, he sees Mary and Martha and all the mourners, asks to see the body, and then weeps. It doesn't say he cried, or mourns, or sheds a tear, it says he Wept. So much so, the people standing nearby couldn't help but say, 'Look at how much he loved him!" It's an amazing picture of God's emotions! I don't read that emotions came after the fall, which leads me to believe they were a part of man's nature before the fall - hence part of God's nature. Which leads me to conclude that emotions has been affected by the fall, but was not created by the fall, which means it is affected by sin, but is not sinful itself. A favorite quote I'm not sure who first coined it says, "Emotions are great servants, but terrible masters." We shouldn't be afraid to use them.

 

As far as what it looks like. Jesus is the perfect example. Some other helpful books I've picked up along the way on this subject - - "The four loves" by C.S.Lewis, and "Love and Respect" By Emerson Eggerich are especially good, and "The five love languages" by Gary Chapman isn't bad either. 

 

C.S.Lewis points out that the ancient language the bible is written is has four different words for our one word -love. (not including lust, that's a current cultural distortion...). 

 

1) Storge - empathy/friendship bonds

2) philia - family bonds

3) eros - physical/romantic bonds

4) agape - self-sacrificial bonds

 

Agape love, of course, is the love that God has for us, and is the ultimate love. I believe it is also the type of love we are called to show the most. It is the type of love that sets us apart, and the love that we have been shown. Of course, we are incapable of showing or having this kind of love without the power of God within us, providing it to us. The mental image I was given growing up was of a cup. We have a cup that holds our love. It is finite. No matter how we try, if we use our own strength to fill the cups of those around us with our love, none of our loved ones will be satisfied (their cups will be unfilled) and our cup of love will be empty. However, if we let God's love flow through us, utilizing His strengths, not our own, then it's like drinking from a fire-hydrant - and our cup will overflow into their cups (image of a fountain of cups, with yours at the top and the ones you love surrounding you) and they will all be filled . (hopefully the imagery made sense...)

 

"Love and Respect" speaks more specifically about between husband and wife and how God built us to feel love in different ways. 

 

Eggerich postulates that biblically, God has created the man so that when he feels respected, he feels loved - and when a woman feels loved, she feels more inclined to respect. However, if the cycle is that if the woman doesn't feel loved, she won't show respect, and if the man doesn't feel respect, he won't show love - leading to a  downward cycle that just feeds itself into negativity and destruction. Which is why I think the Bible says the man should love his wife as Christ loved the church, and the wife should submit to the husband - - submit has such a bad connotation these days, I don't mean for the wife to become subservient - the Bible is clear the two become one! The distinction is that the wife loves the husband whole-heartedly, and the husband loves the wife whole-heartedly. The wife is told to follow the man's lead, but the man is told to put the needs of his wife before his own. Therefore, both are called to be the servant of the other. They are meant to work as one, not as one over the other. Too many today, and in history, unfortunately, misunderstand the meaning of what 'submit' means in that passage. 

 

Gary Chapman also does a wonderful job of showing that there are many different ways, in application, to show your love to someone, and each person has tendencies - ways they like to SHOW love, as well as ways they like to RECEIVE love.  - - words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, gifts, and physical touch. Knowing and understanding what your tendencies as well as what your desires are for - as well as for those you love - can be very helpful in considering how to show love to a person, no matter who that person may be. 

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*hijacking Jared, is there a fee for those courses? I couldn't find anything. unhijacking* ;)

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Posted (edited)

yes, it is like purchasing a college class. But if you pass the class, you become alumni and have all the videos available to you long-term and can take further classes with them (also for a fee...). You can also pay for college credit for the core module. 

Edited by Jared Williams

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CS Lewis also does a take down of “Romanic” love (Look away, romance fans!) as a Medieval invention of a French courtier that has warped Western society’s views.

 

Before this shift, people looked on young, Romeo & Juliet type love as fleeting and to a certain extent, foolish. Look more closely at Shakespeare’s masterwork, and you might be surprised to find him not exactly endorsing the behavior of his main characters.

 

This isn’t even touching on the numerous Bible passages that define love by actions and not feelz. “If you love Me...” “Love is patient, Love is kind...” “God is love.”

 

In a certain regard, the Beatles were right when they said all we need is love. Though to be honest, the were practical Satanists if not literal ones. Don’t look up Alister Crowley.

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