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Ten Concepts, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

35- Kinds of love


There is natural love such as love between children and parents. Therefore God likened His love for us to the love of the father for his children.

There is also acquired love such as the love for friends, relatives and colleagues or the love between two engaged persons, or between the husband and wife.

Love might develop gradually.         Image: Hearts, vector art صورة: قلوب، فن الفيكتور Image: Hearts, vector art.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: قلوب، فن الفيكتور.

It may begin as an acquaintance, then develop into friendship. Acquaintance is a relation between two or more persons who may work together or have similar interests, and this may develop into a friendship.

There might be a kind of admiration in some relationships...

However, admiration is something different from love. You may admire an athlete but this does not mean that you love him. When you admire a writer, you admire his thoughts without having any relation with him. There may also arise a mental relation between you and him, but all this is not love. Even though such relations develop into a kind of love, it will be love for his thoughts or style not for his person.

Love is an encounter between two hearts, or a union between two hearts with the same feelings and emotions. In order that such love be holy, the feeling sought should be within God's love, not contradicting or exceeding it.

One of the problems is the case of one sided love.

This means that something is wrong or there is no agreement; for love is supposed to bring forth love.

Love should be reasonable, wise and spiritual; for there are different kinds of love that may cause harm. True love should be chaste; for there is a difference between love and lust.

I remember that I was once asked to distinguished between them, and I said: 'Love always wants to give, whereas lust always wants to take.'

Lust, wishing always to take, is characterized by selfishness. It may ruin the other party though it pretends to love. It may confine the other party to it and shut him off from others. It may turn sometimes to a destroying jealousy! In fact, it is not true love; for true love is characterized with giving and sacrifice, even self sacrifice.

Look, then, at yourself in your relation with the other sex and see whether it is a relation of love or lust!

When a young man goes after a girl and destroys her reputation or robs her chastity, what can we call it: love or lust? If he really loves her he would protect her, feel concerned about her reputation as he does for his sister, as we have discussed this issue before here on in other sections. He would protect her chastity and respect her feelings. He would not let her be infatuated with him and attached to him, then desert her, leaving her confused. Can we call this love?

Some people may call it mere amusement in the life of the young!!!

But what is the cost of such amusement from the spiritual and social aspects? Such amusement occupies the mind and may destroy one's career or hinder the young person's success in study. There is no love whatsoever involved here. What kind of amusement can this be in which chastity and reputation are lost and even the spirituality of both are lost?

True love should be accompanied with purity of heart.

Love between two young people should not abolish their love for God.

The Lord said, "He who loves father or mother... son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me" (Matt. 10:3,7).

So, is it right for a young man to love a young woman more than God, or for a young woman to love a young man more than God? Is it right that such love involves feelings contradicting with the purity of heart?

A person who loves you truly never makes you lose your spirituality.

Who loves you truly does not rob for himself your love for God nor decreases its value nor shakes the love of God in your heart. He cannot leave you in conflict between two kinds of love: a spiritual love and the love of the flesh, or love for God and love for a human being.

Love is not self enjoyment at the expense of another person!

It is rather a self-denial and a self sacrifice as Jonathan did for the sake of his friend David; exposing himself to the anger of his father by defending David.

The best example of love is the sacrifice on the cross for our sake as the Lord said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son... " (John 3:16).

What then can we say about love which leads to marriage?

The important thing is: How can we be sure that it leads to marriage? What are the limitations of such love or such relation which is called love leading to marriage? Is it love between two engaged persons as a condition? Or is it love without any legal relation? What is its end? And what can protect it from deviation?

True love is everlasting love.

It continues and never fails (1Cor. 13:8), if the couple love each other strongly and wish that such love continues between them throughout their life on earth. This love will also continue with them in eternity. This cannot be realized unless their love is chaste so that they may enter Paradise together, then enter together into the

Kingdom in eternity. But if one of them perishes on the way, they will not be together in the kingdom of heaven.

They should support each other on the spiritual way.

Suppose they lived together in sin, then one of them repented and the other did not. They will be separated after death; one will go to Paradise, and the other to Hades. They will never meet in the eternal life and thus their love is not everlasting. Perpetual love is spiritual.

Love has various kinds of domains.

There is love among family members - parents and children, brothers and sisters, and husband and wife. All these kinds of love and relationships are approved by the Holy Bible and by nature.