Electric Love pt. 1 – Quantity and Quality

When is love truely love?

I could ask the age old question of “what is love” and opine the tried and true nuggets of fidelity and passion and giving of oneself. But that road has been well worn by poets and singers and comedians and anyone who ever felt the rage of adolescent hormones flashing in their veins. I could, but I won’t. I’d rather know when love happens, when does love become love?

It’s a sad fact that in english, we have 1 word for love. Love ends up being a panacea that can somehow, mystically, solve the problems and ills of the world one feel-good at a time. Love becomes what you have for your puppy, what you have for your child, what you have for your spouse, and even… ironically enough named, what you have for your lover.

But to say love “is” something definitive like that misses the point. Just as we are not our puppy or child or spouse or lover, neither is love. The Greeks have 4 words for love. I can remember on a good day 2 of them. Each has a different affectation, a different meaning, but all relate to the same core. We do love our parents differently than our dog or wife… at least… I really hope we do.

So one word? Thinking of it abstractly, maybe one word is more accurate than many. To classify love into “types” is akin to classifying models of cars. Yes, it distinguishes what you’re driving, but “car” is what they all share, what they all are. So sure we get to the “Then what is it?” question, but again, perhaps we’ll never know the full breadth of the answer.

However I do believe there are many more types of love than we are aware of. Many more types and many more ways to love. In looking at the life and ministry of Jesus, he loved all he met in different ways. The key there being *all* he met.

See, we tend to think of love as a zero-sum equation. Our hearts are a pie which must be divided only so many ways… every person we give a piece to means there is less to go around for everyone. God must get the largest slice, my wife the next, then my best friend, and so on. The flaw with this is that you eventually have no more heart to give, each slice is so miniscule as to as to be nothing.

Of course many are perfectly content with this view. It makes a certain sort of sense. Of course we must love God most, then our family, etc. We are beings who live by labels, we are not abstract thinkers at our core. So yes, this would make sense.

Perhaps that is why Jesus is still the most misunderstood person to ever grace the world.

Jesus didn’t subscribe to a zero-sum theory of love. Quite simply, he loved all whom he met with all of his heart. It sounds impossible, but then again, Jesus wasn’t known for being unremarkable. The love of God is infinite. Would God make us deliberately crippled to only having “so much” love to go around?

The other part of that is the type of love. Jesus loved each person individually. He didn’t lump them into “rankings”. The disciples were no greater and no worse than those he healed. “Where are my mother and my brothers? Here are my mother and my brothers.”

Very, very few have come even close to matching this ideal since his time. Mother Theresa comes to mind. No matter how many came to her door, there was still room in her heart. Even though she slept but a little, ate but a little, she did wonders in the lives of millions. Must we deny sleep and food and privacy to love? No. Her example is one of quantity and quality… full love for every one she met.

It is good to sleep, to eat, to feel well. It is good to love. Mother Theresa was called to that love, we may be called to a smaller circle. In any case feeling one must be loved less in order to “be right” in some love heirarchy is a disservice to them, to ourselves, and to God.

Every person had their own love, and that love was enough for Jesus to give up his own life for.

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