Because of Granny's funeral this past week, we had an opportunity to visit with family members whom, because of long distances, we don't see very often. I became engaged in a deep conversation with a young family member. In the course of that conversation the "What exactly is love" question was brought up. Unfortunately, when aggressively confronted with negative overtones my mind seems to "freeze up". I always have an "a-ha!" moment later, being left with, "Oh! Why didn't that come to mind during that conversation!"
What exactly is love? The young man I was conversing with went on to espouse all sorts of biology, physiology, sociology, and other ology definitions. He actually reduced his answer to love being nothing more than a chemical reaction within one's brain. I countered with examples of people who sacrifice their lives for others - specifically a mother's for her children. His response was that as an animal species we instinctively protect our offspring in an attempt to preserve our species. I also attempted to counter with the soul/spirit portion of all human beings and how we are created by God, in the image of God, placing us higher than other animals. This too was rejected on the premise that he doesn't accept "religious magic". He asserted that humans only have bodies and brains - he doesn't agree that humans have a soul/spirit. I of course, was caught off-guard with this young person's response and my mind, as it always seems to do, just froze. I was so disturbed that any person could accept such dead and hollow explanations, I began to cry.
For days I have sorrowed for this young man's wife and family. What are they to do when they no longer have the ability to spark positive neurotransmitters in his brain causing a chemical reaction? Will they be abandoned for others who have the ability to spark those neurotransmitters? How heartbroken would his young wife be if she knew his love for her would only last as long as she could spark a neurotransmitter? How devastated will his future children be to find that their father holds no stronger bond to them than a mere chemical reaction? If this young man's summation was true and correct, his parents and siblings would have absolutely nothing to do with him - as in past days, he's wrought tremendous heartache on them - there have certainly been times when he failed to envoked positive sparks onto thier neurotransmitters. However, his family continues to love and cherish him, just as they did in his infancy. I assert he has temporarily chosen to believe a lie.
Whenever something pulls at my heart, I find myself pondering until I have the "a-ha!" moment. Yesterday afternoon, I experienced the "a-ha". Yesterday I pulled out my Random House dictionary and looked up the definition of love - 1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection. 2. a feeling of warm personal attachment 3. a beloved person 4. a strong predilection or liking for something. The dictionary still doesn't convey what I was trying to articulate. However, as always, the Word of God does -
I Corinthians 13:4-8 (NKJV), Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
I pray this young man will forgive his family for the perceived wrongs he thinks they've done to him. I pray he will come to repentance for the jealousy he holds toward his siblings. I pray he will repent of the resentment he holds toward his father and step-father. I pray he will, in short order, repent of his rejection of God and accept the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray he will freely give his love to others. I pray he will soon accept and realize that all his life he has been experiencing love as described in I Corinthians 13:4-8.