It boggles my mind how every person on the planet knows something about love, yet a large percentage claim to know nothing about God. Is this because religion has actually obscured God by insisting that people theologize, dogmatize and particularize God with their own formulations, rhetoric or tribal language? What if God isn’t the character we’ve been given? What does that mean that God IS love (1 John 4:8)?
Love starts as attachment and need. Maternal love is our first taste of God where familiarity and satisfaction join and enable us to imprint upon another.
The lowest form of love is always horizontal but this does not mean it can be diminished. Horizontal love (the love shared between us), is not something we graduate from on our way to becoming spiritual. Instead, it is the evidence that anything spiritual is going on at all (1 John 4:8). Horizontal love exists because we are all spiritual first.
Whether we are loving our pets, our kids, friends, family, or spouses, we all know that we are tapping into the greatest and most powerful force in the universe, apart from which, we struggle to find meaning. Love has everything to do with how we appraise our lives, our well-being, and our future. It’s behind all things.
Life is a love story.
All problems are reduced or amplified by love. Love energy causes all things, good and bad, to grow. Thus we must be wise stewards of love and grow to understand its power for life. Love is the impetus for everything we have ever done. The bad things we do are not because we lack love, but because we have loved immaturely.
Love is not empirically measurable yet no one questions its existence. This has to be the best proof of God. While love can be associated with neurotransmitters or brain chemistry, those are by-products of love not antecedents. Most songs are about love, movies portray it, poetry, art and story reflect it. The nature of love is indescribable and when we try we discover our words always fall short of the ultimate experience. The world agrees that love is the non-physical reality which is beyond us and within us.
The path to possess love is not to embrace a system or strategy. There are no certain steps or rules. It is not a cognitive endeavor. We must fall into the experience or we miss it. We must let go and find ourselves within it’s current. This experience is like no other. It comes to us by giving it away.
Since love has no boundary, we can always go deeper into it, but this strangely takes two willing participants. It exists between us & within us. Love is experienced in countless ways each unique to each person. All horizontal love is entirely spiritual but we call it natural. The day we stop going deeper with each other is the day we move away from our spirituality and consequently our love story.
Love beckons us to mine it. Sorrow in life is the skimming over the depths of love which is our life. Depression is not recognizing our true name is love.
Horizontal love cannot be avoided. It exists within each of us, yet some resist love. We all do. Since love is non-physical (spiritual) we can only fall as far in love as the level of our spiritual maturity. We all get stuck at the point of unbelief. We can’t love others beyond our soul’s capacity to receive love. Want a better marriage? Stop defending, start falling. Start giving love away and our capacity for love will grow. Hoard it and it will die of cynicism within us.
This is because love, by any expression, is the incarnation of God. It is our immediate point of contact with the transcendent, to which most of us are oblivious. God is not the object we love, God is the experience (not the feeling) of love that we have through objects. Idolatry is missing this distinction by separating God from all that exists.
If we want the wellspring of life called love, we must go beyond horizontal love and begin to experience vertical love. And that will be the focus of next weeks post. If you think I’m going to switch from human love to the love of God, then you are mistaken. Human love is the love of God. We cannot go deeper with each other without going vertical. And we cannot go deeper with God without going horizontal. The word must become flesh and it does so via love.
Horizontal and vertical are not separate paths to separate loves, but the same path and experience of love, but in two dimensions.