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eople sure can be a pain in the neck. It would be so much easier if people were like things, they stay where you put them, you know them, you can generally trust and rely on them, they often give comfort and help. But, people are not things, and further, people are not perfect, they're human. People have as many shortcomings as you do; they have strengths and weaknesses. They sometimes do things on purpose, and other times don't know what they are doing or even aware they are doing it. They can love you and hate you, be your friend, be your enemy, or be nothing at all. They are never predictable, but yet are so important and valuable to you. But, they, like you are created in God's Image, and through your relationship with God, learning and growing in Jesus, you can equip yourself to relate positively with them, and be confident in yourself in your relationships with them. So, let's look at some different relationships or situations we may find ourselves in with people.
hen it comes to relationships, most of our society is obsessed with physical beauty and desire. I find this sad, for beauty and desire are fleeting, lasts but a moment, often shallow and selfish in nature. In English we have only one word for Love, but Greek language has several, i.e. parental Love Maturna, friendship love Phileo, erotic Love Eros, and self-sacrificing, selfless Love Agape. Most of what we see everyday in this world is Eros.
Agape is the word used in Scripture to describe the Love between God and us, God's Love is never selfish, it is self-giving, self-sacrificing; there is a beautiful passage of Scripture in I Corinthians 13 which describes Agape. It was Agape which caused Jesus to be born, it was Agape which sent Jesus to the Cross, it was Agape which caused Jesus to rise from the dead, it is because of Agape we can know new birth and life in Christ, and it shall be Agape which shall cause Jesus to come back one day.
Just as God is three yet one, "Parent, Child, and Holy Spirit," so are we designed by God in God's image, three yet one. Imagine if you will a pyramid, the bottom layer the "spirit," the next layer the "soul," and the top layer is the "body." The spirit, the heart, is the inner person, the will, the center, where Christ should be seated, the throne. The soul is the intellect, emotions and thoughts. We all know the physical.
The majority of people enter relationships like an upside down pyramid, dangerously balanced on the tip, entering first physically; they may explore the soul, get to know what the other person thinks, desires, likes, dislikes, but rarely does the relationship move on to learn of the spirit. Such relationships are doomed to topple and fall. It is common to see persons in such a pattern; they fall madly in "love," then later awaken to discover they have nothing in common, or no longer find each other physically stimulating.
Instead, relationships should be entered first through the foundation of the spirit, then the soul, and lastly the body. There should be no hurry in relationship development, time devoted to quality as well as quantity, learning and growing.
Agape is the word used in Scripture to also describe the Love that should be present and foundational in any relationship. The same Love God has for us, we should have for God and for each other. This Love is not centered in the physical, nor in the intellect, but in the heart, the spirit. God's Love is birthed in our hearts, and it is this Love we should live in and through in all we are and do, especially in our relationships. Agape does not seek its own way, does not keep lists of wrong done it, is ever forgiving, ever edifying, ever putting others above itself. Agape should be foundational to all other forms of Love, parental Love is positive and edifying, friendship Love is honest and open, and erotic Love is unmatched in its depth and expression.
The truth is relationships which are founded on the physical or soulish levels rarely survive nor endure the hardships and ravishes of time, but relationships founded on Agape, a molding of two spirits as one, endure, grow, produce much fruit, can withstand storms of life.
So, you think you are in Love with someone? Or you wonder how to tell if, when you do meet someone someday, this is the right person? Is what you are feeling for someone Love, or is it infatuation?
"Infatuation leaps into bloom. Love usually takes root slowly and grows with time. Sure, there are cases of 'falling in love' instantly, but it's so rare that generally if such feelings occur you should be suspicious of them.
Infatuation is accompanied by a sense of uncertainty. You are stimulated and thrilled, but not really happy. You are miserable when the person is absent from you. You can't wait until you see each other again. Love begins with a feeling of security. You are warm with a sense of the person's nearness, even when you are apart. Miles do not separate you. You desire the person to be near you, but near or far, you know you belong to each other.
Infatuation confuses 'having things in common' with 'feelings for this person.' Infatuation bases itself only on having things in common with each other, things you both like to do together, etc. Love loves even the differences, gives allowance to the other to be whomever he or she is meant to be, supports the differences, gives support to the other in conquering faults.
Infatuation says, 'We must live together right away. I can't risk losing this person.' Love says, 'Don't rush into anything.' You are sure of one another. You can plan your future together with confidence.
Infatuation has an element of sexual excitement. If you are honest with yourself, you will discover that the proof it is infatuation is if you discover it is difficult to enjoy time with one another without it always ending in intimacy. Love is the maturation of friendship. You must be friends before you can be lovers, true lovers.
Infatuation lacks confidence and is insecure. You wonder if the other person is true to you, or if with another person when you are not around. Love trusts.
You may fall into infatuation, but you never fall into Love. Infatuation might lead you to do things for which you might be sorry, but Love never will.
Love leads you up, builds you up. Love makes you both better people than you were before."
Give your desire for a relationship to God, for it requires God and God's Agape for it to ever come to pass; leave your desire for such at God's feet. Do not approach every person you meet as a possible mate, but rather a sibling and friend in the Lord, lest your mind be on the search and not on people. If God desires you to be in relationship, God shall bring it to pass. It is your job to be Agape to everyone, to approach and touch all through the heart first.
God's Love is complete, it is all parts wrapped up into one. Therefore, you are to be Agape in your Eros, your erotic love, and you are to be Agape in your friendship and parenthood love, too. Though we may have only one English word for Love, and the Greeks had several, to the Greeks they were all Love. In English, we've just divided them into other words, but Love, especially Agape is foundational to them all. So, in all you are and do, be Agape, Love.
ay and lesbian relationships or partnerships are legitimate between the partners, but not always recognized as such by religious organizations, churches, or denominations. You should check with your respective Christian denomination or local church to determine their status on recognizing same-sex unions. Some local churches may recognize and accept even though the official denomination does not. Some denominations accept, but some local churches within that denomination resist.
The same is true with various types and levels of government. Government laws regarding same-sex relationships vary in coverage, if at all, regarding health and life insurance, retirement, disability, adoption benefits and recognitions, child custody rights, divorce, wills, living wills, powers of attorney, possession of property, protection from discrimination, sexual harassment, or being removed from employment or housing on the basis of sexual orientation. These laws and recognitions may vary from one level of government to another, what might be protected or legal within a city, might not be for a county, or what might be recognized by one state might not be recognized by another state, or what might be accepted by one national government might not be recognized by another country.
You should be aware of the laws that apply to where you live, and your needs. Do not put off setting up legal documents to protect your rights within your relationship, regarding survivorship, wills, living wills, custody of children, powers of attorney, joint property and ownership, etc.
I recommend same-sex marriage ceremony, or call it, if you will, a gay marriage or lesbian marriage ceremony. Just as straight people living together always leaves a tempting exit door open, and creates the possibility of lacking commitment to work through difficulties and life circumstances together, so does the same hold true for gay partnerships without such a binding significance. There is something about a public testimony before friends, family, and God, which cannot be disputed; we make a public commitment to Jesus Christ, why not to the person we love, too. For your use and assistance, I provide a traditional formal same-sex marriage ceremony for your consideration and use, Same-Sex Marriage Ceremony - Traditional Formal Gay Marriage Ceremony.
Regarding the debate about same-sex marriages, I have presented one sound basis in favor. Whether or not such is legally or religiously recognized, gays and lesbians shall continue to fall in love and commit to each other in lasting binding relationship. Since such relationships have existed for centuries, there is no foundation to them being a threat to heterosexual straight marriages, nor families in general; legal and religious commitments strengthen society. What are threats to straight and gay relationships are difficulties from within the relationship, within the individual, or circumstances without. If the two partners are rooted and in grounded in Christ, in a bond of commitment, ruled by the Law of Love, they have a greater chance to flourish, grow, be edified, and prosper.
Gay and straight relationships are strong if there is a binding commitment, stronger if there is a religious or legal recognized binding commitment, and strongest if their foundation rests on Jesus Christ with the two persons bound together in commitment to following Jesus Christ's Law of Love.
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