Limited vs Unbound Love: Valentine’s day musing

Everyone desires love. The question is what level of love they will settle for. Today on Valentine’s day, love is the theme. Examining the theme of love there are two concepts to which this mind is drawn. The two concepts are of limited love and unbound love.

First let’s examine limited love. Limited love is self-generated. It is love that focuses on loving others in reflection of love received. It is loving others based on what they do for you, the needs met. There are types of love that fall into this category. Romantic love fall into a type of limited love. It is based on attraction and being built up and loved by another. It eventually fades as it has a limit. Another type of limited love is familial love. Now there is familial love that transcends limits, however, all too often family is elevated about all and becomes soul focus. The focus on family and can result in limiting love in other directions outside the family sphere. It really comes down to loving those in our lives. It is what meets the needs of self or is derived from self. Limited love is limited in many ways including duration, scope, and practice.

There is another type of love though, the unbound love. A more familiar way of phrasing this is unconditional love. Unbound love knows no limits as it is love not self-defined. Unbound love flows from the heart and touches others. It is the type of love by which one can bless their enemies. It is the type of love that gives without hesitation. It is love transcending the limits of self and giving fully of self. This type of love is love that transcends self. It is the type of love that can flow with a person who is right with the Creator of the Universe. It is the love that is found at the cross and death of Jesus. It is the love that is seen by people giving of themselves at great personal cost. It is love that often is not seen as people quietly work toward loving others.

Personally, unbound love is this writers preference, but all too often fall short. My behaviors and responses are often steeped in self and trapped by my limits. I love my wife and family in perfectly, and often react out of my own needs and desires while missing or ignoring theirs. My own limits are seen in struggling to continue to be intentional in writing in a daily basis. My limits of love are seen in times of struggling to follow-through with made commitments. We all truly need to taste the unbound love. God created us with the un-quenching desire for that real charity. The wounds of life we all experience are due to facing on form of limited love or another. Our expectations and desires are squashed.

So how do we walk in greater levels of unbound love. It has to start with walking each dad in surrender to Jesus and following the leading of the Holy Spirit. It starts with loving God with the whole self and as we do that love becomes evident in our treatment of others. The more aware of being truly loved in a way unbound and immeasurable, as God loves each of us, the more able we are even able to love those who despise us. Ultimately, each of us are growing more and more in being able to love in unbound ways, or we face greater and greater limits to love, which results in fewer and fewer ways of truly being connected and truly loved.

Movie Commentary: Fireproof

          This movie is well worth seeing. The movie shows that a good movie can be written and made from a Christian perspective and not hit folks over the head with the Gospel. Many so-called Christian movies are poorly done and badly written, this movie is neither.  The movie has a broad appeal with the main core of the story being a struggling marriage and the central theme being reconciliation.

         The core principles used in the movie is that of following an outline toward loving unconditionally and moving beyond self. The focus is just not on unconditional love, but even showing the importance of recognizing our limitations and pointing to Jesus the Messiah. 

        The film is used to promote the concept of the Love Dare journal which is available in various assorted stores or websites.  They also have a website emphasizing the concepts in the film. 

       Now while the movie is well done and certainly promotes marriage reconciliation there are some dangers as well. One danger is that what can happen as a result is a formulaic approach to marriage reconciliation.  There is an implicit promise that if you follow the principles shown in the film, that all will be well. The fact is, people can and do reject love.  As the movie draws the parallel between our rejecting Jesus love and the rejection of love in a marriage.  Yet, the truth remains that truely demonstrated love puts a person in the perspective of change.

      The important principle comes down to moving beyond ourselves and following the Biblical commands such as for a husband to love his wife as Jesus loves the Church, which is love regardless of response.  This love can either be accepted or rejected. Some will accept, some will reject but moving beyond self is the key. And no one can truely love unselfishly without Jesus at the center.  People can try, but usually the manipulative aspects of such falsely tried love can be observed.  It also points to giving all of yourself, setting aside all of what can easily ensnare.  Now the truth is, some of our snares are so engrained that it takes work to surrender and move out of the traps that ensnare us.  However, for those that follow what God set forth, there will be blessings.  The blessing are not always what we want, we have to be willing to lose all to gain what Jesus has for us ahead. Sometimes that means loss. 

     Another caution is that it could be tempting to use the movie to try and make a point to someone you know is stuggling.  Clearly, such an approach could serve as a barrier.  Certainly recommend the film  and the journal to others you know but do not do so with caution and respect.  Above all pray, pray that God uses the film and book to bring others unto him.  Pray for anyone you know who is in a struggling marriage.  Pray that God uses the film even to enhance marriages of those not struggling.  Pray above all that message of Jesus and the Gospel do not get lost and truth of the need to surrender to Jesus continues to shine.