I heard from a Christian gentleman whom I respect, that love is not a feeling (and I have not had the opportunity to ask him what it is then, if not a feeling). Can you answer me this question?
I do not know the context when the gentlemen you have written about said that love is not a feeling, but he was right that love is more than just a feeling. In the world we live today, the word “love” is associated with a feeling many times, or, worse, with sex. People say “love” and they think only about sex. It was so when the Christian Church was formed. Because Christians practiced love feasts, (they had the habit to eat meals together or share with each other what they had where they gathered and prayed, sang and had a beautiful Christian fellowship) when pagans heard of that, they were talking that Christians had gathered and practiced sex orgies in secret. It is a lie that started then and has been spread by “ignorant and fool people” until today and some professed Christians spread this lie so unjustly accusing those who are part of other denominations.
In the same way, others understand that love is just a feeling and therefore, at a moment the husband says he no longer has love for his wife, that he fell in love with another woman and wants a divorce. Or maybe the wife does so. And people who do so, excuse, saying that “You can not command the heart.” Even these days I talked to the wife of a former minister of the church who had been caught by such a thought and then had been dragged into fornication, leaving his wife with four children, divorcing and marrying another woman. And when his wife asked him why he had done that, he said that he also “had the right of love and happiness.” How can you say so? But did he think about the happiness of his wife and children?
In the Greek of the New Testament there are used three different words translated into English as “love”.
STORGE is the word that is translated “natural affection” and refers to that love which is based on a good feeling, on sympathy. It is the love we have for someone or something that we like, that attracts us.
PHILEO – is mutual love between friends. Both STORGE and PHILEO are conditional. But a different one is …
AGAPE – it is the love that gives itself and seeks the highest good of the person to whom it is directed. It is divine love God loved and loves us so. The golden verse of the Bible reflects this kind of love the best:
For God so loved the world, that Hegave Hisonly begotten Son, that whoeverbelieves in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)(NASB)
And in another place in the Scriptures it is written:
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to bethe propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)(NASB)
God’s love was shown to us when the Lord Jesus, His beloved Son, was brought as a sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. What feelings do you think God experienced in those moments? Yet, because God wanted us, people to not perish, but have forgiveness and eternal life, He left His only begotten Son to be brought as a sacrifice for us. This is love.
Now, I assume that you refer to the love one must have to start a marriage. Yes, this love must be based on feelings, but not solely on feelings, but on the firm determination to pursue the good of that person and to be faithful to her to the end of your life. You must have confidence that you will serve her with love and you will be faithful to that person both when she is healthy or when she is ill.
I had the happiness to know a married couple in the USA. He was military when he fell in love with her – a beautiful young girl, whom he had asked to marry him. But, at some point he did not receive any letters from her and coming home on holiday he wanted to know what had happened. Coming to visit his girlfriend, he found out that his lover had cancer and a part of her jaw had been removed. Maybe you imagine what this means for a woman, but especially for a girl waiting to get married. She believed that she no longer had any value for him and therefore decided not to write and to disappear from his life. But he came and asked her to marry him and up to this day he has behaved with great tenderness and attention to her. They were a living icon of love for all those who saw them, because that man showed true love all the days of his life.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru