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Thread: What Is Love?

  1. #46
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    Post Re: What Is Love?

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    Gal 5:26 . . Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

    Webster's defines "conceit" as: excessive self-appreciation of one's own worth or virtue.

    There's nothing intrinsically wrong with having strong core values and/or believing in yourself, but if you should find yourself somewhat indignant and/or resentful when others don't believe in you, or when they think very little of your core values; then watch out because that's a symptom of conceit, and it will hinder you from obeying The Lord's orders in regard to getting along with fellow believers.

    The koiné word for "envy" is phthoneo (fthon-eh'-o) which means: hostile toward a rival, or towards someone believed to enjoy an advantage. In other words; we're talking about a competitive spirit-- not the good-natured, friendly kind but a malicious kind of competitive spirit that resents others doing better than itself, or more popular than itself, or more recognized than itself, or more admired than itself; viz; it's all about self.

    Rivalry is a very destructive passion. It got Abel slain by his own brother, and it got Christ slain by his own people. Rivalry makes otherwise sensible people behave contrary to their own better judgment, and gets them embroiled in oftentimes unnecessary vendettas; e.g. gender rivalry and racial rivalry. Now those two there are very destructive social influences.

    If none of the above describes you; consider yourself fortunate.

    The koiné word for "provoke" is prokaleomai (prok-al-eh'-om-ahee) which means to challenge; viz: to get in somebody's face in an obnoxious, assertive, confrontational manner; which is a kind of behavior that prevents people from deserving identification with God's kin.

    Matt 5:9 . . Blessed are the peaceable: for they shall be called the children of God.
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    Post Re: What Is Love?

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    Gal 6:1a . . Brethren, even if someone is caught in the very act of any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness;

    The koiné Greek word for "trespass" is interesting. It can refer to willful misconduct and/or to unintentional misconduct. Seeing as how willful misconduct is dealt with harshly and summarily as per 1Cor 5:1-13 while in this situation gently, then I'd say Gal 6:1 is referring to unintentional misconduct; which doesn't merit a public flogging; but rather a quiet talk; and the more private the better in order to avoid embarrassing the unintentional offender.

    Restoration does not apply to visitors; only to members on a church's roles; i.e. the congregation. The visitors' business is none of our business so don't go sticking your nose in it.

    The Greek word for "restore" basically means to repair or adjust, viz: restoration applies to maladjusted Christians, i.e. the ones whose misconduct is habitual, and quite possibly detrimental to a church's overall health.

    A spirit of gentleness precludes the use of bullying, intimidation, rage. yelling, demeaning comments, lecturing, scolding, biting sarcasm, ugly remarks, carping criticism, brow beating, and such. Those kinds of behaviors aren't gentle, no, they're cruel and abusive. They're also unwarranted when the accused has committed an unintentional trespass.

    NOTE: The instructions given in Gal 6:1 pertain only to spiritual Christians; garden variety, rank and file pew warmers-- viz: marginal Christians --need not concern themselves with it.

    In churches where people are conceited, assertive, confrontational, embroiled in petty rivalries, debating, quarrelling, and maybe even jostling for notoriety; the spiritual ones are obviously going to be as scarce as California Condors.
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    Post Re: What Is Love?

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    Gal 6:1-2 . . Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.

    It's human nature to shun people with problems so they don't drag us into a world of inconvenience and/or negativity. But that is not what I call fulfilling the law of Christ; which reads thusly:

    John 13:34-35 . . A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

    The love that is defined by "As I have loved you" is a kind of love willing to suffer inconvenience, shame, humiliation, embarrassment, and disgrace for the sake of another. Christ's love isn't a fault-finding attitude; it's a supportive virtue: it doesn't only feel your pain, it gets involved in your pain.

    Church can be the loneliest place on earth when nobody cares enough about you to get involved in your pain; but instead would just as soon not know about it. Sadly, there is about as much love for one another in modern churches as there is amongst an audience of strangers at the movies. I sincerely believe that a lot of that indifference has to do with modern churches just simply being too big and too busy.
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    Post Re: What Is Love?

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    Gal 6:1-2 . . Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.

    It's human nature to shun people with problems so they don't drag us into a world of inconvenience and/or negativity. But that is not what I call fulfilling the law of Christ; which reads thusly:

    John 13:34-35 . . A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

    The love that is defined by "As I have loved you" is a kind of love willing to suffer inconvenience, shame, humiliation, embarrassment, and disgrace for the sake of another. Christ's love isn't a fault-finding attitude; it's a supportive virtue: it doesn't only feel your pain, it gets involved in your pain.

    Church can be the loneliest place on earth when nobody cares enough about you to get involved in your pain; but instead would just as soon not know about it. Sadly, there is about as much love for one another in modern churches as there is amongst an audience of strangers at the movies. I sincerely believe that a lot of that indifference has to do with modern churches just simply being too big and too busy.
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    Post Re: What Is Love?

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    Gal 6:10 . . While we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

    Good can take any number of forms but I think a useful description we could apply here is "beneficial".

    Jesus did good (Acts 10:30) i.e. he was very definitely beneficial; not just on the cross or by his teachings, but in non spiritual ways too.

    Those who are of the "household of the faith" are actually kin; viz: siblings; and like they say: charity begins at home.

    Some churches have what they call a deacon's fund; to assist members who are down and out and/or in dire straits.

    And don't overlook your church's senior citizens. Some may be getting up in years and finding it difficult to even maintain their own homes and yards anymore. Chores may not seem all that spiritual; but pitch in anyway if for no other reason than your assistance is beneficial.
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    Post Re: What Is Love?

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    Eph 4:2 . . Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, putting up with another in love.

    NOTE: That's an interesting command because no doubt it's not asking us to do something that Christ doesn't do every day: endure his sheep's stupidity, their lack of civility, and their natural preference for impiety.

    Humility is one of those virtues that people love to talk about; but rarely ever seem to exemplify.

    The Greek word is a tongue twister. It's tapeinophrosune (tap-i-nof-ros-oo'-nay) which means humiliation of mind, viz: modesty; defined by Webster's as: free from conceit and/or vanity.

    Conceit is defined as excessive appreciation of one's own worth or virtue; viz: a too-high opinion of one's self; i.e. a master-race mentality.

    Vanity is defined as inflated pride in oneself or in one's appearance; viz: narcissism and/or self adoration.

    Cosmetics and figure-shaping undergarments don't really qualify as the kind of vanity that Paul is talking about; which is a kind of vanity that goes way beyond just trying to look your best.

    Sinful vanity is an ugly creature. It's self aggrandizing. Vanity isn't gentle either, on the contrary, vanity can be quite cruel, thoughtless, competitive, given to rivalry, indifferent, and insensitive; and vanity abhors associating with people whose station in life is decidedly below its own; and God forbid someone below themselves should have the nerve to correct either their conduct or their knowledge.

    Patience is a jewel. It's defined as the power, or capacity, to endure without complaint something difficult or disagreeable. Patient people seem to have a predilection for retaining their composure while under stress. These make the best leaders because they don't get flustered when everything around them is disintegrating into chaos.

    Patience is very useful when it comes to "putting up" with certain kinds of chafing Christians who seem to have a knack for getting on people's nerves.

    During my forty years working as a professional welder, I encountered numerous fellow employees whose skills and performance were excellent; but nobody could work with them. They were just too difficult.

    Heaven forbid that Christ's followers should ever be "difficult". It is rather to be desired that they be civil, courteous, thoughtful, sociable, agreeable, helpful, approachable, accommodating, affable, rational, reasonable, temperate, and self-controlled. Christians around whom everybody has to walk on egg shells all the time, are in sore need of a personality make-over if they're to ever have any realistic expectation of associating with God as His kin.

    Matt 5:9 . . Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
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    Post Re: What Is Love?

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    Eph 4:3 . . Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

    Peace is what everybody wants but seem thoroughly unable to attain-- either by force or by diplomacy --even in Christian churches; where you'd think that at least there you'd find peace seeing as how it's related to one of Christ's beatitudes (Matt 5:9). It's also a fruit of the Spirit. (Gal 5:22)
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    Post Re: What Is Love?

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    Eph 4:25 . .Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

    Honesty is demanded by the covenant that Moses' people agreed upon with God in the Old Testament (Lev 19:11). Although a Christian's association with God is not based upon compliance with that covenant, it's still required that they be people of integrity who can be relied upon to tell the truth; especially to each other.
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    Post Re: What Is Love?

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    Eph 4:26a . . In your anger do not sin.

    Anger isn't eo ipso evil. It's how one handles their anger that matters. Anger can be a very useful tool when it's applied by somebody who knows what they're doing. For example:

    Mark 3:5 . . And when Jesus had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man: Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

    Everybody gets angry from time to time; just don't let it drive you to doing something contrary to your better judgment, e.g. violence, profanity, malice, cruelty, uncivil behavior, emotional outbursts, hysteria, etc.
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    Post Re: What Is Love?

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    Eph 4:26b-27 . . Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the Devil a foothold.

    Some people treat their anger like a prized possession: they don't want to lose it. They actually prefer to stay angry rather than "get over it". Apparently the Devil is quick to take advantage of Christians like that, i.e. they become what's called in the spy business; an asset.
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    Post Re: What Is Love?

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    Eph 4:29 . . Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

    "helpful" is from the Greek word oikodome (oy-kod-om-ay') which means: to build up (as opposed to tearing down).

    "foul or abusive" is from the word sapros (sap-ros') which means: rotten, i.e. worthless (literally or morally) viz: inappropriate.

    The foul and abusive category no doubt includes not only profanity, but also biting sarcasm, cruel remarks, thoughtless comments, chafing, relentless fault-finding, sneering, ridicule, mockery, and unnecessary criticism.

    Language that's good, helpful, and encouraging is essential if one is to be serious about exemplifying the fifth beatitude.

    Matt 5:7 . . Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

    Speaking of humanity as a corporate body, the Bible says:

    Rom 3:13a . .Their throat is an open sepulcher

    It's not advisable to open a sepulcher seeing as how the contents are no doubt going to be quite odious and in a state of decay; especially in locales where the remains weren't cremated or treated with formaldehyde.
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    Post Re: What Is Love?

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    Eph 4:31 . . Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior.

    It wasn't The Lord's wish that Ephesian Christians avoid all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice; no; on the contrary, he wanted the Ephesians to "get rid" of them.

    "bitterness" is from the Greek word pikria (pik-ree'-ah) which means: acrid, poisonous, and/or toxic (literally or figuratively)

    Christians like that are nothing in the world but deadly reptiles.

    "the poison of asps is under their lips" (Rom 3:13b)

    "rage" is from thumos (thoo-mos') which means: passion (as if breathing hard). Passion is just the opposite of reason; and as everyone knows, emotions are incoherent; so it's to be expected an emotional person is not acting rationally. This is a kind of conduct that Paul says brings sorrow to God's Spirit.

    "anger" is from orge (or-gay') which means: desire (as a reaching forth or excitement of the mind), i.e. (by analogy,) violent passion, ire, (by implication: punishment)

    People overcome by orge typically want some satisfaction; even to the point of at least your ruin; if not your death.

    "harsh words" is from krauge (krow-gay') which means: outcry.

    Out-crying is what protestors do; in other words: assertive, in-your-face confrontational complaints and/or demands.

    "slander" is from blasphemia (blas-fay-me'-ah) which means: to vilify. Webster's defines "vilify" as: (1) to lower in estimation or importance, and (2) to utter slanderous and abusive statements against; viz: defame, discredit, and/or denigrate.

    A statement need not be false in order to qualify as slander; it need only to be unnecessary; viz: you'll often hear people say: Well, I was only telling the truth. Were they? No, that's a ruse. In reality, they're insensitive; and they don't care who gets hurt by their thoughtless remarks.

    The Lord notices the words people say, and he also takes note of the spirit in which they say them.

    "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken." (Matt 12:36)

    "malicious behavior" is from kakia (kak-ee'-ah) which means: badness, i.e. (subjectively) depravity, or (actively) malignity, or (passively) trouble:

    Malice usually includes the element of "spite" which Webster's defines as: petty ill will, or hatred, with the disposition to irritate, annoy, or thwart. Compare that to the koiné word for "persecute" in the eighth Beatitude which means, literally: to pursue; viz: to stalk, to hound, to harass.

    Webster's defines "thwart" as: (1) to run counter to so as to effectively oppose or baffle; viz: contravene, and (2) to oppose successfully; viz: to defeat the hopes or aspirations of; in other words: to deliberately get in someone's way; block, discourage.

    Boy I'll tell you, that Ephesian church was as rough-hewn and crude as the old logging community of Stump Town (now Portland) out here in the Oregon of the 1800's. They cussed, they brawled, they bad-mouthed, they held grudges, they were thieves, they were arrogant, they somehow had the idea that Jews were below them, they were immodest, conceited, vain, and impatient, they walked unworthy of their calling, and they were splintered into cliques.
    _

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    Post Re: What Is Love?

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    Eph 4:32 . . Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

    Within the context of the letter Paul wrote and sent to the Christians residing in the ancient city of Ephesus; the objects "one another" and "each other" are exclusive; viz: the comments refer only to one's fellow Bible-believing Christians rather than the world at large. So if you're unwilling to be kind and compassionate to outsiders; at least be so with people at church so as to help prevent church from becoming a hostile worship environment.

    The Greek word for "kind" is chrestos (khrase-tos') which means: employed; viz: useful.

    Chrestos is found in only seven places in the New Testament, and without exception implies being beneficial to others for their own good rather than using people to benefit your own self.

    The word for "compassionate" is eusplagchnos (yoo'-splangkh-nos) which means: sympathetic.

    Webster's defines sympathy as: 1) an affinity, association, or relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the other, 2) inclination to think or feel alike: emotional or intellectual accord, 3) feeling of loyalty: tendency to favor or support, 4) the act, or capacity, of entering into or sharing the feelings or interests of another, 5) sensitivity, and 6) heart; as in "have a heart".

    Eusplagchnos would make a good substitute for a word found in one of The Lord's beatitudes.

    Matt 5:7 . . Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

    "merciful" is from the word eleemon (el-eh-ay'-mone) which means pretty much the same thing as eusplagchnos: compassionate and sympathetic.

    It used to be that Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts were trained to be useful to others as just simply a matter of good deeds and good citizenship. I don't know, maybe they still are; but I've known lots of churchians who were totally useless to others because they're infected with an ugly spirit of conceit, rivalry, and indifference. Far from being kind and compassionate; those Christians are actually sociopathic and don't even know it.

    The word "forgiving" is charizomai (khar-id'-zom-ahee) which essentially means: to grant as a favor; viz: gratuitously, i.e. courtesy.

    Webster's defines gratuitous as: 1) given unearned or without recompense, 2) not involving a return benefit or compensation or consideration, 3) costing nothing: free, 4) not called for by the circumstances: unwarranted, 5) complimentary, 6) gratis, and 7) voluntary. In other words; charizomai seeks no reciprocation; it never says "you owe me one"

    Sailors are oft heard to say that the sea is very unforgiving: meaning it allows no room for error or weakness. Christians ought not be like the sea. We ought to be the most forgiving people on the planet; and not because we expect others to reciprocate; but just because we enjoy being gratuitous. For some Christians though, courtesy is an effort.

    Eph 4:31-32 isn't easy. What we're looking at there is not just good citizenship; no, what we're looking at is something divine in both its nature and its behavior.

    Phil 2:1-2 . . If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

    The word for "bowels" is splagchnon (splangkh'-non) which means: an intestine. Your gut is the very place where you "feel" pity and/or sympathy for others-- that is; if you're capable of those kinds of feelings; not everyone is.
    _

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    Post Re: What Is Love?

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    Rom 12:7a . . If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well.

    "serving well" implies serving conscientiously and whole-heartedly rather than half-baked, grudging, and/or hit and miss.

    One of my brothers has been a construction foreman for decades and one of his perpetual complaints is that he never knows from one day to the next whether some of the men he hires on jobs will show up. In other words: they aren't reliable, he can't count on them.

    What I'm saying is: if you're thinking about becoming helpful in some way, don't do it unless you're willing to commit to the long haul because people need to know that they can depend on you to stay the course.
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    Post Re: What Is Love?

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    Rom 12:8a . . If your gift is to encourage others, then do so.

    You know who really benefits from encouragement in a big way? Little kids. Thoughtless grown-ups can break a growing child's fragile spirit by criticizing them all the time and never once giving them an "attaboy" or a single vote of confidence.

    A fitting word spoken at just the right moment can really beef up somebody's resolve to meet life head on. If you're good at that sort of thing, then watch for opportunities among your fellow Christians to do so. It has to be honest though because flattery is all the same as treachery.

    Prov 29:5 . .Whoever flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his feet.
    _

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