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Genuine Love

Ronald describes eternal love as unwavering and full of splendor, but if we are preoccupied with time bound concerns, it may not appear to us as it truly is. He directs us to live from a higher perspective, one where the pleasure of acting from love is the only reward we seek. -Editor

Genuine love is not something that is always easy to see, in fact when we look out at the world we can never really be sure that what we are seeing is genuine love. Genuine love takes many forms and often lives deep beneath the surface of most of our relationships. While at times it may be quite apparent as when we see a beautiful smile or selfless act of kindness, often it is buried far within a persons actions. Love sometimes is expressed in ways that do not look loving at all. Love can lie behind the stern look of a parent or a gentle expression of disapproval. Love can also be at the heart of a refusal to show untimely compassion as when a judge puts a criminal in jail for the protection of the community. Love, because it has what is eternal in its heart, will not always be easy to see, and at times love will not be appreciated as much as it should be.

In fact, love was born into this world almost 2,000 years ago in the form of Jesus Christ, and sadly, as we know, the Lord was put to death by people who could not lift their minds to what is eternal and beyond the gratification of the moment. The hells gave it their best to pull the Lord from His own eternal perspective, but because of love's unwavering commitment to what is eternal and its undiminished sight of a good ending for all people, love remained strong even when undergoing utter persecution. In reality love could not lose because it was and is the eternal itself, but in the heart of the people of the time, love was not appreciated as it should have been.

There is often pressure today to practice untimely love, to show kindness in the moment so we don’t look bad or uncompassionate. There is a pressure to not share what we know to be true and to show self-righteous indignation at anything opposing cultural norms. There are truths about marriage, and truths about what genuine charity and kindness are that are not popular today. But if a person wants to find real love in this world, they must lift themselves from the gratification of the moment and be willing to reach for an eternal perspective, even if it means being seen as something they are not.

In the Joseph story we see a character who for a good section of his life was persecuted without a cause. Joseph was thrown into a pit and sold into slavery by his brothers for sharing a dream that the Lord had given him, a dream that he would someday be in charge. This symbolizes that in a person’s spiritual rebirth, the Lord, who is Eternal Truth, will eventually come to be first in importance (Secrets of Heaven 4687). Even though Joseph had been thrown into a pit, he did not give up on following the Lord.

Later in this story, Joseph was thrown into jail for refusing to sleep with his master Potiphar’s wife. When he refused she grabbed his garment, pulled it off him and held it in the air crying out an accusation against him. On a spiritual level this garment represents truths from our faith that may not be popular. Waving them in the air for all to see represents how a truth from the literal sense of the Word may be villanized by those who can’t see from an eternal perspective (Secrets of Heaven 5028). Yet Joseph remained strong and was thrown into jail for his integrity, being thrown in jail representing the persecution of falsity. In the same way we may be accused of being something we are not, and even be accused of being uncompassionate for withholding untimely compassion. When we are being made spiritual we must struggle with all our might not to be conjoined to a natural and time-bound perspective as represented by Potiphar's wife.

Making the best of being in jail, Joseph helped interpret a dream for two friends in prison saying that they must promise to remember him when they got out. Sadly, the friend who was released from jail did not remember Joseph and the kindness he had shown him. This last trial in Joseph’s life represents doing good even when it is not being remembered or seen, a situation in which our best work goes unnoticed (Secrets of Heaven 5178). This final state, although sad externally, is more beautiful than any other because it captures true love, a love that does not act from expectation of being loved in return, but from giving of itself freely.

In the long run Joseph is remembered and he is raised out of his trials to a position of power where he could be of service to his people, but Joseph could not have gotten to this state without these trials.

True love is a treasure far surpassing any other treasure that can be received in this world. We all have our own unique conception of what love is and the Lord will use this to guide us deeper and deeper into its mysteries, if we only are willing to innocently follow the Lord even when we feel like we are a lamb being led to the slaughter. The reward will be in love itself, the love we find waiting anew in our hearts, a new love that was not there before, a gift from the Lord Himself. When we let the eternal draw us up and allow ourselves to be conjoined to it, we will find something sweeter than we ever knew was possible—genuine love.

Ronald Schnarr

Ronnie Schnarr is living in Boulder, CO and is currently serving as an assistant to the pastor at the New Church of Boulder Valley. Ronnie is also doing some traveling ministry in Palo Alto near San Francisco and in La Crescenta near Los Angeles. In recent years Ronnie has led teen camps, managed NEXUS' (a camp for New Church teens), traveled in Africa, played rock music, and generally kept it real.

Reader Comments (3)

This is a delight to read, especially on Christmas Day.

December 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterImogen

Dear Ronald, not only can I relate to your thoughtful article- I'm also encouraged that others like yourself value genuine love.

December 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Maiorano

Thanks, Ronald, for making such a strong connection between true love and looking to the eternal.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLawson
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