Saturday, May 1, 2010

God Loves All His Children

Finding Love from God and Family?
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” John 4:7-8
The idea of love is fairly broad. Some love their X-Box, others love their dog or cat and others love to possess beautiful things. For most, at some stage in their life, they will love another human being, a partner, a child, a sibling and at least hopefully a wonderful friend.

The idea of love, as I’ve learnt within the LDS Church, is a broad and all encompassing love, we’re taught to love even as Christ loved. In Ephesians 5:25 husbands are taught to “love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it”. 

There are several Greek words for love, as the Greek language distinguishes how the word is used.  Ancient Greek has four distinct words for love: agápe, éros, philía, and storgē. However, as with other languages, it has been historically difficult to separate the meanings of these words. Nonetheless, the senses in which these words were generally used are given below.
Agápe (αγάπη agápē) means "love" in modern day Greek, such as in the term s'agapo (Σ'αγαπώ), which means "I love you". In Ancient Greek, it often refers to a general affection rather than the attraction suggested by "eros". Agape is used in ancient texts to denote feelings for a good meal, one's children, and the feelings for a spouse. It can be described as the feeling of being content or holding one in high regard. Many have thought that this word represents divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional, and thoughtful love.
Éros (έρως érōs) is passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. 
Philia (φιλία philía) means friendship in modern Greek. It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle. It includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality and familiarity. 
Storge (στοργή storgē) means "affection" in ancient and modern Greek. It is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring. 
Thélema (θέλημα thélēma) means "desire" or "will" in ancient and modern Greek. It is the desire to do something, to be occupied, or to be in prominence.”
The Greeks arrived at these definitions hundreds of years before Christ walked the Earth. I think they were onto something. The English language can be restrictive and limiting when it comes to expressing how we feel. As a person of faith, the knowledge that God loves me is key to my faith. I know that regardless of my behaviour, I will always be loved by Him. He can separate my behaviour from who I am and in the case of me being gay I believe he doesn’t love me any less, but perhaps he’s not happy with my behaviour. 

Deciding to step away from the Church afforded me an opportunity to do things that full activity would not allow. More specifically, I felt that my doing them made it difficult for me to attend Church and be authentic in my behaviour. That included drinking of alcohol, smoking and sex. While I may feel justified in my behaviour as a gay man in a relationship with my partner, the alcohol, tobacco and multiple partners is a little more difficult to justify.

Why do I break the world of wisdom as well as the law of chastity? I’m not really sure, I think part of me believes I’m in so much trouble anyway I may as well maximise the experience. As far as the atonement is concerned I feel far and removed from it’s reach, through my own behaviour. Of course, the atonement is further reaching than I can ever understand and forgiveness is always available to all of us.

Do I want to repent and will repentance be available to me? I believe it will be available, but wanting to repent may take some time. As I wrote these thoughts for this book, I really found it difficult to express how I felt on this issue. The Lord says:

“For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

The Lord does not exclude people from this statement, it seems to be an all encompassing expression. I believe that God loves all of His children and he desires they all return to live with him at some stage, perhaps the journey will be longer for some than for others.

The ideas expressed above are based on the premise that homosexuality is seen by the Lord as wrong or sinful. Many Churches teach that if a person is involved in an intimate relationship with someone of the same gender or someone of the opposite gender and not married, they have committed a sin which must be repented of. 

It’s this point which caused me to step away from the Church. While the Church so aggressively supported the ban on gay marriage in California during the second half of 2008, they provide me no option other than to live a life of celibacy away from gay friends and surrounded by married heterosexual friends and their children. I can’t imagine a more empty and lonely existence void of any affection or intimacy which we all crave, gay or straight.

Do I need to know that god loves me? I don’t think a person needs this knowledge, but it provides a warmth and comfort that I believe little else can. Some may see it as an anchor to my guilt, but as I’ve shared in this book I don’t feel guilt in the sense that I dwell on it every day and night. I do acknowledge that my actions are not in line with the current teachings of the Church and there may be consequences for them. I’m comfortable with that and look forward to one day being held accountable for my actions. I have a few things to share when that opportunity presents itself.

No comments:

Post a Comment