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Homer Dewayne Shappley
What Are the Healthy, Good Kinds of Love?
"HEALTHY and GOOD,” in contrast to “BAD KINDS of LOVE,” for these also exist, but, on this occasion, let us concentrate on the “GOOD.”
I ask, respectfully: Would you possess the necessary credentials needed to identify and define good kinds of love? How many of them would you have known, experienced and conserved year after year, for a long time? Maybe more than me, but…
I would like to courteously present to you my personal credentials acquired by means of an infinite number of personal experiences, observations, studies and counseling sessions, thinking they might qualify me to respond to the question-subject of this article. I have experienced in body, mind, and spirit several of the good kinds of love. Also, I have read an abundance of material about love as it is manifested in so very many distinct ways, in human beings of virtually every category, and an almost endless number of different situations.
My principal credential is the following: I have not excluded from my reading a particular book whose very short title seems to bother a great number of our contemporaries. Hope you are not one of them. I refer to the "Bible." A book that, may we note, covers all kinds of love, from the very lowest to the very highest. In some instances, with surprising frankness and shocking detail. Multitudes often speak the name of the author of this book. However, with little or no respect whatsoever, having distorted concepts of him because they do not really know him.
We are talking about God the Creator who “is the GOD of PEACE and of LOVE.” 2 Corinthians 13:11. To be sure, “…love is OF God.” Juan 4:7. Furthermore, “God IS LOVE.” 1 John 4:8 and 16. That is, he is the source of all right kinds of love, being its perfect manifestation. As such, he is absolutely the only one with an innate right to define pure and blameless love in its different applications in both the physical-material realm and the moral-spiritual one. My definition of love is based primarily on his exposition and example.
Sound and Pure Kinds of Love
God himself identifies and defines SOUND, PURE kinds of love.
You can, and should, love your own physical body. “After all, no one ever hated his own body, but feeds and cares for his body.” Ephesians 5:29. The husband also loves his wife’s body; the wife, her husband’s body, for they are "one flesh." This physical love between a man and a woman legitimately united in marriage, according to God’s ordinances, means that sexual love between couples thus joined together is wholesome, acceptable, pure. “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled.” Hebrews 13:4. “…a man shall… be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Matthew 19:4-9
You can “love life and see good days” (1 Peter 3:10), enjoying the material blessings of the Creator.
You can, and should, love your parents, your wife or husband, and your children, respecting and honoring them in all your relationships and interactions, striving for their material, as well as moral and spiritual good. Matthew 15:4-6; Ephesians 6:2-4; 1 Peter 3:1-7
You can, and should love your neighbor as yourself. Galatians 5:14
You can, and should, love the God of love with all your heart, mind, and soul. (Mark 12:30), understanding that he first loved you (1 John 4:19), desiring to have you near him and making it possible through the sacrifice of his only Begotten Son. “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
You can, and should, love the light (John 3:21), synonymous with loving God’s Truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:12
Additionally, you can and should come to know and love the church built by Christ (Matthew 16:18), for he loves it so much that he gave himself for it (Ephesians 5:25-27). Clarifying: love the one he built, not the ones built by men.
Also, love the Second Coming of Christ (2 Timothy 4:8), for it means the eternal glorification of the good, just, and obedient, and that they will be crowned with immortality in the Paradise of the God of Love.
HOW to LOVE?
To love a being truly and sincerely, whether human or spiritual, is to love “with all your strength.” Mark 12:30. Within the norms established for any specific relationship. Not with a fanaticism that borders on craziness, or is crazy, but neither with an insipid, weak love, lacking normal passion. Rather, with a love that goes beyond mere friendship, empathy, fascination, infatuation, or fondness.
Come to feel intense affection. Fervently want, yearn, desire, hunger to be near, in the presence of. Make yourself a
a part of the person, and that person a part of you, without violating the dignity, integrity, or privacy of the one loved so much.
Enjoy the relationship, mentally and sentimentally. Even physically in the case of those legitimately married according to the directives of the God of Love. Be ONE. Attaining a fusion of heart and mind, even of spirit. Feel happy, complete, safe, and at ease in the company of the one loved. Sad, unsure, and incomplete when no.
Hold the life of the one loved to be more important than your own life, being willing to give your life, if necessary, for the one loved. Feel frustrated, solitary and somewhat desperate when separated for whatever reason, offense, or error, lamenting, and crying. Not be at peace, unable to sleep, even have no appetite until reconciliation is accomplished.
All that and much more is what it means to love “with all your strength.” Be that one so loved a human being, the Father of our spirits (Hebrews 12:9), or Christ Jesus, who, loving us with supreme love, sacrificed his life in the cruelest way to bridge all chasms and unite us again with the “family of God.”
Positive actions define wholesome and pure love
Jesus Christ said: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments… He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me… If a man loves me, he will keep my word… He who does not love me does not keep my words…” John 14:15, 21, 23 and 24
Now then, every human being has the commandments from Christ to believe truly in God, repent sincerely, and be baptized “for the forgiveness of your sins,” that is, to be baptized in water for the washing away of sin. Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-47; 22:16. Are you willing? What a relief! Such a great salvation! What a wonderful hope of a better life here, and there!
If you have not yet been baptized biblically, that is, by immersion in water (Acts 8:26-40; Romans 6:3-7), “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:18-20), and “for the forgiveness of your sins,” the purpose assigned baptism by Deity, but you keep saying “I love God; I really love Jesus,” friend, please don’t deceive yourself any longer. For you do not possess or display the definitive proof of loving them until you dutifully keep their commandments on baptism. So then, to the water as soon as possible, and be baptized, that you may, indeed, show good faith of the love you profess, just as the Philippian jailor and his family did. Acts 16:25-40
Positive attributes define wholesome and pure love
The healthy, good, and pure love taught and exemplified by the God of Love is also defined by the attributes he assigns it in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
“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 the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
In this text alone, two positive attributes of true love; eight things it does not have or does not do; five things it does do. At this time in your life journey, what are the attributes of your love?
LOVE NEVER ENDS!
I conclude, citing the following powerful words: “Love never ends…” 1 Corinthians 13:8. What love? Yours, mine, or the one God teaches?
“So faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13. Faith, hope, and love. Do you have the three, or none of them? Until when do your present beliefs, hopes, and different kinds of love abide?
If your mind is functioning normally and your soul is beginning to be filled with the light of divine truth, you will understand that only spiritual faith, hope, and love sustain beyond the death of the physical body and that SPIRITUAL LOVE is the greatest of the three. That is so because when faith and hope become realities, they cease to be. On the other hand, true spiritual love abides time without end. It is within your reach! Why not lay hold of it now?
My genuine desire is to serve any sincere soul who seeks pardon, honor, glory, and immortality, these being the incomparable gifts of the very generous God of Love who is “a Rewarder of those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6; Romans 2:10-11. If I may be of service to you, please contact me.
Text and Document Composition by Homer Dewayne Shappley