what is {love}?

i know this is extremely random on my blog of superficial things, but as i read it i really appreciate how well written this is and what a good explanation of love! plus it's february, the month of love <3

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i found it on this blog, which is about a gay mormon, and how he copes and deals with the struggles of same-sex attraction. He has a very strong faith and he's very inspiring.

"Finding the ends of the spectrum is actually pretty easy. God has a perfect love for us, and so we should try to emulate His love in every relationship we have with others. Satan has a completely inferior love (we could call it hate, but hate is just the absence of love) for us. I think that highlighting aspects of each relationship will help us to see what we really want when we want to love and be loved.

In the most inferior relationships, the determining factor is that you have no intention of helping the other person come closer to Christ. In that case, the relationship is
purely selfish. Why? Because you believe that true joy comes from doing the most pleasurable things. Everything done in the relationship is to preserve or increase your ability to use the other person to achieve your desires. You may be willing to do absolutely anything and everything to achieve them. You may help them to feel temporary pleasure, try to meet their unmet needs, and dedicate an inordinate amount of time and money cultivating this type of relationship. Or you could use blackmail, coercion, seduction, and dishonesty. There are two ends to this relationship. On the one hand, they willingly meet your desires. Then you perpetuate the relationship for as long as they can continue to meet them - perhaps even until death. But once you know, for certain, that they are unable or unwilling to please you anymore, you discard them, the relationship ends, and you seek someone else.

The most superior relationships are strikingly different. The determining factor in these relationships is a
desire for the other person to become the best person he or she can become, and a willingness to do everything in your power to make that happen. Why? Because you know that true joy comes frombeing the best person possible. Christ spoke about the importance of being kind to your enemies as well as your friends, praying for them that use you, being good to those that persecute you. Walking an extra mile with someone who stole your coat. Hence true love includes unconditional kindness. But at the same time, love does not mean that you condone the unrighteousness of others. Doing that would be essentially telling them, "It's okay if you put your hand on the stove. I know that it will burn you, but I think that letting you do what you want to do is more important than warning you about the consequences of your actions." On the contrary, God's perfect love for His children manifests itself in a completely opposite manner. He looks at their lives and helps them see the consequences of their actions. Does that mean that He discards those who don't follow His commandments? No - hence the next key - true love helps others rise from their mistakes. In fact, true love never stops acting, even when the person receiving it has completely turned away.

But I think the most telling factor in true love is the one mentioned first -
desire for the other person to become the best they can be, and willingness to do everything in your power to make that happen. That is the greatest motivation, the greatest love, the greatest fulfillment we can find. We can see it in everything God does with us. He allows us to struggle because He knows that struggles give us the opportunity to grow stronger and happier in the end. He answers our prayers for help and support, enabling us to trust in Him and come closer to Him. He withdraws certain blessings when we sin, but continues to love us and be actively involved in our lives.


So how does sexually expressing love play into this? I think the key is in the motivation - and behind that motivation you can see whether sexual acts are acts of love, or of lust. Simply put, God gave us sexual feelings for the expression of love only between husband and wife. Everything else is lust. It has been like that since the beginning - and it makes sense. The ability to be a family - to be joined as parents - is the greatest stewardship that God has given us. He has given us the ability to be joined as husband and wife, father and mother - to learn to be like Him. Of all the relationships we have in life, marriage between husband and wife is the most important, the most exalting, the most eternal. You will spend all of eternity with this person. It makes sense that
that relationship would be different, in some meaningful way, from the love you should feel for everyone else on the planet. Within marriage, sexual relations are righteous acts, drawing husband and wife together, emphasizing their ability to be one, helping them to realize the jointability they have to raise a righteous posterity and change the world. Outside of marriage between husband and wife, sexual acts, while still pleasurable, don't elevate men and women to keep their covenants and look to God for guidance. Since they pull you down instead of lift you up, sexual acts outside of marriage end up just being a cheap substitute."