Thursday, June 10, 2010
links to Jeff Weddle on reasons to love:
Christians often define love as “self-sacrifice for the benefit of another with no desire for personal gain.” In general I don’t think this is bad, probably not heretical. At the same time, it might be wrong.Jeff concludes:
1 Corinthians 13 says things like “I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”
The implication is that only by loving others do we actually gain a profit! In other words, love is actually the only way your self can gain!
Does this not make love self-serving? If we love someone so we profit, isn’t this more like capitalism than selfless sacrifice?
A person who thinks they are loving someone else with no thought of personal gain is closer to being a Pharisee than being like Christ.There is a difference between "thoughts" of personal gain and actual personal gain. Indeed the self-sacrificial love modeled by Christ and to which we aspire is the only means by which we can come into Christ's image and that is indeed the ultimate personal gain. But we should do so without thought of that personal gain. Weddle contends:
Even Christ Himself did not sacrifice Himself on the Cross with no thought of personal gain. He endured the cross for the “joy set before Him!” It was because He was cast down at the cross that He was exalted on high for eternity.In the first place - Christ is God, His exaltation was secure with or without the cross - He died to restore His creation and He indeed derived joy from that, but He is God and therefore by definition the ultimate ego.
However, He had gotten along just fine prior to the cross, and could continue to do so for eternity. His joy was not for His sake, but for ours. His joy was in the love that we received.
When one mines a precious metal, say gold. One usually also derives other metals, typically silver, sometimes others. But it remains the gold that you are after. If you start to focus on silver recovery, you leave money in the ore because you have not optimized the process for the true value - gold.
So it is with our own self-sacrifice. We derive great benefit from it, but such benefit is by-product. However, if we focus on that benefit, we leave much behind.
The idea is indeed to be without thought of self. Then and only then can we experience the ultimate benefit.