Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Some Intriguing Thoughts About Love and God

A couple of weeks ago a person in the congregation here shared some thoughts about love. I disagree with him a bit but I wanted you to get to think about his ideas yourself. I may be misremembering exactly what he said and I'm certainly not expressing it exactly how he did, but here's the gist of it.

He was reacting to a statement about the need to shun the love of self. He said that people need to love themselves before they can work on shunning evils. He said that the problems in the world don't come from people having too much love but too little. People don't slit their wrists because they love themselves too much.

He said that people need to feel loved before they can work on things. He pointed out that God is love and then quoted True Christian Religion 99:2 which says that
love wants to love and be loved.
He stressed that God, as love, loves other people first before He wants to be loved in return and that's a key detail. Someone else pointed out that there seems to be a similar emphasis in John where the Lord says,
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. ... This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (15:9, 12)
(Jumping in with my own thoughts...) The Writings talk about the importance of a person's idea of God. (Divine Love and Wisdom 13 was the first example I found. Please comment with other good passages on the topic.) And I've always been a bit confused by why someone's idea would matter so much. Shouldn't how a person lives matter more? But this line of thinking made me realize that it would make a huge difference in a person's life if he didn't believe that God loved him. Why would you want to obey the teachings of someone who didn't love you and want the best for you?

This is obvious stuff, I know, but it's still pretty profound to me and has made me think that perhaps the first thing we need to communicate to people about God (and about the New Church in general) is that He loves them—and not just in a sacrificial lamb, taking on the sins of the world kind of way but in an ongoing, leading to most possible happiness kind of way.


Brian Donald Smith said...

I'm going to take the time to write a proper response. However, I was staring at a sheet of passages which address the topic of one's idea of God right when I read your post. So I will include them. (I'm also interested in the question of 'love of self' as an appropriate or useful piece of charity).

DLW 13 place in heaven according to idea of God.
AC 10083.5. first of all to acknowldege Lord as Savior of the World
TCR 6. everyone see God in the Word according in his own fashion.
TCR 8. Faith in many God's is hardly to be distinguished from faith in no God.
SE 4676. do not care about the intricacies of doctrine.
HH 319 religion which doesn't ackn divine is no religion. (and more)
AC 3241. numerous differences of goods and truths but all make one heaven because all have reference to one Lord. like organs in a body all held together by one soul.
AE 759. those of the New Church called the Hold Jerusalem see the internal sense of the Word because they acknowledge the Divine of the Lord's human
AE 759. Enlightenment in spiritual truth follows form their ackn.
AE 759. those not of the church do not acknowledge the divine of the Lord's human, nor love truth because it is the truth, that is spiritually
TCR 165 no other way to read the Word for enlightenment that to go to the Lord God the Savior. then will see truths which reason will also acknowledge
TCR 165. reading the Word under own intelligence rather than ackn. the Lord as God of heaven and earth leads to darkness. Like walking with a blindfold or sailing without a compass.
HH 321. heathens have not worked out arguments against the Lord like Christian who think He was an ordinary man.
HH 321. Heathen ackn. the Lord at once after they hear he was born on earth.
-SE 4676 - when [these gentiles] acknowledge the Lord, and so receive faith, believe in the Lord,
DP 328 - man receives love and wisdom from God when he ackn God and lives by His commandments.
DP 328 - man receives love and wisdom from God to a greater or lesser degree according to his knowledge of God and His commandments from religion.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the importance of a 'correct idea', though it is the will that takes the understanding into partnership with itself, it is the understanding that teaches and shows the way (DLW 241). If the info is bad, misdirection is not unlikely.

Anonymous said...

Correct source is DLW 244.