I agree with this “feelings” vs. “will” or “intellect” idea only up to a point.
I am not pitting one against the other. Nor am I arguing from the position of “intellect” vs. “feelings”. True Christian love does not DEPEND on warm fuzzies for it’s strength. If that were the case, mothers and fathers would boot their small children out of the house when they throw temper tantrums. Couples would quickly divorce when the blush of romance fades (which is what we see now).
I don’t agree that we don’t control our feelings (if that is part of the point) even if that control is imperfect or difficult.
It’s not. I never said we don’t control our feelings. In our current cultural climate, I would say we don’t have ENOUGH control over our feelings and that “warm fuzzies” are elevated as the litmus test for how we define love.
I certainly don’t agree that feelings, whether ours or our neighbors, are secondary to the issue of Christian love.
Really? See above. If your assertion is correct and feelings reign over our obligation as Christians to love everyone, even our enemies, than the human race is in trouble. I know how difficult it is for me to “feel” love for my son when he flaunts his sins as virtuous and insults both me and God. As a Christian, we are called to rise above our temporal feelings into a deeper, more profound understanding of love. How much love do you think Christ actually “felt” for the Roman soldiers who whipped Him?
When Christ said to love one another I don’t think He meant “Its OK to feel animosity towards one another, but understand intellectually that you want what’s good for that person.” I think He meant what He said. We are to love one another BOTH in an intellectual ‘want what’s good for you’ way AND in a fuzzy warm sentimental way.
No. Christ did not say FEEL love for one another. He said LOVE one another, even your enemies.
Christ described the love we are to have two ways. He said we should love one another as we love ourselves, and He said we should love one another as He loves us. Both of these are strong and emotional loves, full of feelings. Paul said that the entire law is contained in and accomplished through love for each other. He did not speak of this love as an intellectual construct, but as a thing of kindness and gentleness. Divorcing taking proper actions and having proper attitudes toward one another, or even wishing what is right and good for each other, from a true emotional feeling of love leads to the pharisaic error.
You really are missing my point. Feelings are relative. True Christian love does not rely on the way we feel to exist. Christ loved the Samaritan woman at the well by rebuking her in her sinful lifestyle. He probably “felt” more love for His apostles that anyone else yet He rebuked them for falling asleep in the Garden. I doubt He was “feeling” kindly toward them at that moment. There are countless examples in Scripture of Christ’s love that transcends what we would call “feelings”.
So, while I agree that Christian love is a matter of intellect and will, I think we are called to do more than that. We are called to feel real emotional “feelings” of love for everyone.
We are not called to FEEL love by God. Let’s not add words or meanings to our obligations as Christians simply because our modern society doesn’t grasp the profundity of our vocation.
Christian love is not limited to compassion for the poor sinner. Pity is not love.
And pity is not compassion. They are two very separate and distinct emotions.
Compassion accompanies love, but is not love. We are called to love one another with the same love we feel toward our blood brothers, our parents, our best friends, with all the fuzzy feelings that entails.
And compassion is a great motivator. Pity is not. Compassion, driven by love, is what provokes the outpouring of generosity that we see when our brothers and sisters experience crisis (Katrina, Tsunami, etc).
If I depended on “warm fuzzies”, I would have ceased involvement with all those folks you mentioned above. We are not called to “feel” love. We are called TO love.