A good friend of mine recently blogged about the idea of Love being an Action versus a Feeling.
Great post, please read before continuing...
Diary of a Defeated Man: Love is an Action
Right away I agreed with the conclusion and had started to write a short comment on the post. After all, every verse in the Bible that talks about love is apparently talking about actions... right? Now, while I completely agree that Love is an action, for lack of a better phrase, I decided to play devil's advocate and started meditating on some of the verses. Here is what my feeble mind came up with:
I'll throw a wrench at the wheel...
God is Love (1 John 4:8b)
God is neither an Action nor a Feeling in the traditional sense of the words, so, we must deduce a new definition.
On this premise, I'll argue that Love is neither an action, nor a feeling in and of itself; rather a collective entity/phenomenon that needs to be understood at whole value. This value is a sum of yes, Feelings and Actions amongst others:
Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart" -- Metaphorically, the heart feels, here Love is a feeling. This could also imply passionately (ie: with all your heart), in that case, yes, an action.
"With all your soul" -- Your soul is your essence, what we strive to offer up to our Lord - Our very being and existence. This monumental task would seem to me to require both action as well as feeling. The feeling must be present to drive the action and the action to establish the feeling.
"With all your mind" -- To me, this implies a complete fixation on the Love commanded here. With all your mind, ie: in everything that you say, see or do, all dawning from the mind that will eventually establish your feelings as such. For once you are completely devoted to something, it is impossible not to feel one way or another towards it. Therefore, is the Feeling of Love just a byproduct of the Action? Let us argue that it could be more.
"Love your neighbor as yourself." -- We must remember that these are commandments. These commandments are given as an umbrella to encompass the rest. Commandments are actions to be carried out. In this sense, Love is an action. But, we have the Love of oneself to deal with here: "as yourself." the as implying that this certain Love had already been established, as if it was there since your beginning. What action have you done in that sense? We can argue this both ways:
1) There was no action. This is an instinctual Feeling. Something embedded into our being and our existence. It is therefore more than an Action.
Or, 2) For our own survival, we are always "looking out for number 1," thus this Action is the Love of oneself mentioned here.
Okay, okay, so I would make a horrible lawyer. The thought of Love being a Feeling seems to have been greatly overshadowed by the apparent truth of Love being an Action.
But I can't end it here. I will return to my opening verse, "God is love." We agree that God is infinite and cannot be understood by our finite minds. By that token, I will argue that Love is therefore being humbled in its nature when you say it is a mere action. Yes, Love is expressed in/by Actions, but, in its maturity and at a greater level of understanding, I believe that Love perfects itself when it is manifested as a Feeling. Now, at this stage, is it just Human (Imperfect) Love? Or, is it Heavenly (Perfect) Love? As imperfect and finite beings, we are not (yet) capable of such understanding. The best we can do then is to follow the ultimate example:
8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
(1 John 4:8-11)