The Essence of Tragedy

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This post is inspired by a recent conversation I had with a friend in a Literature and Philosophy class about his assignment to write a paper about the essence of tragedy in the context of various works the class has read this semester.

I’ve been so inspired by that conversation as to write what I believe is the essence of tragedy, and how it has changed from the era of the Greeks until now.  Tragedy, as we know it, started as a genre in Greek drama.  Every Greek tragedy included a protagonist, often a hero type, struggling against fate.  Most of these tragedies involved a prophecy which the protagonist attempted to avoid, ultimately fulfilling it.  This fall was catalyzed by a fatal flaw, often hubris (pride).  The point of the tragedies, plays like Oedipus Rex, Agamemnon, and Antigone was to cause the audiences to have a feeling of sympathy and reflect intellectually about their world.  Tragedy is thought-provoking because it reveals to us a key aspect of our lives, that we all have flaws.  Greek tragedies never featured hope, because the Greeks did not have hope.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” -Romans 3:23

This verse outlines tragedy.  We were created to experience the glory of God, yet sin pulls us away from that glory, it is the fate that we are tied to, it is our fatal flaw.  Throughout history, people have tried to escape sin, and the death it leads to, but all have fallen.  Not every culture had a name for it, but all humanity knows it.  We see the consequences of our choices and try to change our choices but in the end, they lead us back to the same pit of despair.  The Greeks and other cultures turned their attentions toward building character, wealth, and honor to distract from the futility of life’s struggle.  Those things were somewhat tangible, but they were not satisfying.

This tragedy of humanity was finally given hope at the cross, in God in human form, Jesus Christ.  As he bled and died, he took the tragedy of the world upon him.  That day seemed to be the peak of tragedy, as a man who seemed to be perfect, without flaw, hung dying.  Could there be hope for man?  An outsider looking at just this scene would not think so, but the outsider does not know the whole story.  “For God so loved the world, that he sent his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” -John 3:16.  “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  By his wounds you have been healed.” -1 Peter 2:24  Jesus took that sin upon him so that humanity might not suffer the ultimate consequence of sin, but that was not the end of the story.  “…that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”-1 Corinthians 15:4

This is the ultimate joy and hope, the opposite of tragedy.  All who believe in Christ have hope in his resurrection!  “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 15:19  This verse is true, Christians, if Christ was not raised from the dead, have no more hope than the rest of humanity, in fact, it means that they suffer for nothing.  “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead (verse 20).”  Now there is hope on earth for humanity.  One must ask; since hope has been brought to mankind, is there still tragedy?  The answer is yes.

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” -Romans 1:28  This is the essence of tragedy, when a person rejects God and the gift of salvation.  A man given the hope of the gospel who rejects it experiences a greater tragedy than the Greeks who did not know of God’s salvation.  The essence of tragedy in the modern world is the opportunity of redemption rejected.

 

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What Love is This?

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I write this as I mourn for the heart of a lost friend.  I am in the first semester of my freshman year of college and I have learned more about God and my faith than in my whole life.

This summer, I went on a mission trip which opened my eyes to the scope of God’s unconditional love.  I fell in love with kids I had only known for a few days and really bore their struggles with them and desired for them to have relationships with Jesus.  I cried for joy when I saw two of the girls come to salvation and wept after I left the camp with my family.  I remember thinking that if my love for these kids could be so great after being with them for a few days, how great is God’s love.  He created us and knows us intimately and desires a relationship with us.

I was hit by this truth later at summer camp, when the Spirit made me truly believe that God cares about every little detail in our life.  “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”  God created the stars and put the earth in motion.  He knew exactly which stars we would see and when we would live.  He puts each person and event, even the small moments, like a hug from a friend or a beautiful ray of sunshine in the afternoon, in our lives purposely.  Nothing escapes his notice.  “Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.” (Psalm 8:3-5)  It is amazing to think that he made each of us differently, with unique lives and circumstances, and yet he is ultimately in control.  I cannot wrap my mind around it.

Flash forward to my third month in college.  I have just finished a conversation with a friend I have been praying for from the first day I met.  I have been waiting on the Lord, trusting for his promised salvation.  I crave the faith that Abraham had, “when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance.  And he went out, not knowing where he was going…For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:8, 10)  He waited for the promised son for twenty five years.  I have been waiting to see my friend’s salvation for three months, and I wrestle with discouragement.  But God has been showing me something greater.

I thought I had learned a lot about God’s love on my missions trip, but I have learned even more in the three months that I have been in college.  God calls us to love the people that will never love us back, or who cannot love us the way we love them.  Even when those people hurt us when we are trying to be an example of Christ to them, we are still to love them.  I have found that while it is hard to love those people, it is nearly impossible not to.  This is a supernatural love from the Spirit.  I have felt such a burden as this for several people, but three stand out in my memory.  One of those, and the one I am closest to has never really experienced unconditional love.

For the past two days I have felt a greater pain because of the sin of someone else and a greater burden for that person’s salvation than I have ever felt in my life.  It hurts, but it is a hurt filled with hope.  My efforts will not save this person, but God is still using me.  As he is using me, he is revealing to me his love.  Not only does he love this person more than I do, he loves everyone with this type of love.  I am astounded at the love Christ felt when he went to the cross.  Did he cry when he was being nailed to the tree?  I believe he did, not just because of the physical pain, but because his heart was broken for the people he saw.  In the garden of Gethsemane, he prayed for those who would come to know him.  In the darkest moment on the cross, Jesus cried, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)  He was not just asking for those mocking him at the cross, but for every person who mocks the love of the Savior.  For every person who has let their heart be hardened to God’s unconditional love, Jesus asks forgiveness.  That is incredible love, and it brings me to my knees.  It comforts me and strengthens my faith.

At a time in my life, especially in my faith, where it looks like I should be under extreme pressure in stress, I feel more peace and love than I have ever known.  Yes, I struggle.  Yes, I feel pain, but hallelujah!  I feel the love of my Savior.  This is how I know that though my circumstances look bleak and the future is uncertain, I can rest in my God.  He is my rock and my refuge.  He is my ever-present help in time of need.

“I believe

that I shall look upon

the goodness of the Lord

in the land of the living.”

-Psalm 27:13

 

Marriage: It’s not all about you

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It’s time for a long-overdo post addressing a controversial, relevant topic.  Marriage, specifically, homosexual marriage.  The recent Supreme Court decision over SCOTUS stated that a homosexual marriage recognized in one state must be recognized in all states.  In this post, I will not address the unconstitutional nature of this decision (violates the 9th and 10th amendment, in summary: individual Constitutional State laws cannot be overridden by the Federal government, and all rights not given to the Federal government are reserved for the individual States), and instead address the issue of marriage itself.

I am approaching this topic with a bias (for all you skeptics who like to make comments about bias), I am a Christian who believes that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, but I am going to use as much logic as possible and examples, historical and Biblical, in this post.

I realize that the title of my post will immediately cause one to be defensive of their motives for getting married, for who gets married with selfish motives?  According to many many people, Christian or not, marriage is a partnership, right?  This is true, marriage is a partnership, but it is a special and sacred partnership.

The history of marriage starts with the Creation of the world.  God, the Creator, desired to create an organism (for lack of a better term) in his image, one who could create, have emotion, have intellect, and desire relationships.  Therefore, he created man, “in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them,” (Genesis 1:27).  Instead of speaking this new creature into existence, as he had for everything else, God got down in the dirt, and formed man from the dust, breathing life into his nostrils, (Genesis 2:7).  God then placed man in a beautiful garden and gave him the special job of naming all the animals and cultivating the garden (Genesis 2:8, 15, 19).

This man, God named Adam.  At this point, God had not created woman, because God wanted Adam to learn something.  As Adam was naming the animals, he noticed that they came in pairs, male and female.  He also noticed that there was not another creature like him, no creature fit to work with him, (Genesis 2:20).

Why had God not given Adam a partner?  God wanted Adam to realize that he needed a partner, to desire a relationship.  “So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.  And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man,” (Genesis 2:21-22).  When God brings the woman to Adam, Adam is amazed and full of joy at this perfect partner.  Adam and his wife, Eve, enjoy the first marriage, completely without shame or dishonesty, (Genesis 2:23, 25).

A few observations from this passage.  First, relationships, especially marriage, are necessary for a society to thrive.  Adam and Eve worked together in the garden, and would eventually parent children that would marry and have their own families and populate the earth.  Secondly, Eve, the woman, was created from Adam’s rib, symbolizing her status as Adam’s partner and equal.  Eve was not created from Adam’s head, symbolizing dominance, or foot, symbolizing servitude, but from his side, a very carefully planned action by the Creator.  Finally, God did not make another man for Adam, but a woman.  This is significant in two ways. One, that God’s creation was not complete with a man, but with man and woman, woman is necessary.  Two, that though Adam and Eve were created equally, they were created with different roles and functions which compliment each other.

God created marriage for several good reasons.  Marriage was created for the procreation of children and the pleasure of the married couple.  Marriage was created to secure the family.  there are several reasons why marriage was created, but the most important reason is that it reflects the Unity of the Trinity, and this is why marriage is sacred.

Our culture has believed many lies about marriage and the family, but the biggest one is this, that marriage is about being happy.  While happiness should come with marriage, it should not be the focus of the marriage.  This sounds completely crazy in our world, but it is true.  Making happiness the focus of the marriage will ruin the marriage.

Two hard truths for me to accept as a romantically minded girl who grew up watching Disney movies were that there is not “One” out there for me and that romance is not everything.  One does not have to feel that special spark to marry someone, and there is not one person alone who can give one the perfect feeling.  While this principle seems super unromantic and boring, it actually helps marriages last.

Why does the principle of “no one true love” make marriages last?  Because feelings change.  One could feel the “spark” from another person and think that because he/she felt that it means that he/she is supposed to be with that person.  All cares are tossed to the wind, and the romantic relationship begins.  The couple lives happily ever after, right?  Wrong.  What happens when that romantic feelings fades, or one partner lets the other down?  Does that mean that he/she is not the “one” and that its time to end the marriage and move on?  That is what Hollywood would have us believe.  However, this is just not realistic.  A couple that can work through the hard days will have a better relationship afterward.  Yes, there are circumstances when one partner is abusing the other, but could that be because the relationship was initially based on a “spark” instead of on something more foundational, like trust?

That is my reasoning why feeling romantic about another person does not justify marrying them, no matter how “in love” one is.  True love is demonstrated by sacrifice, its not just a feeling.  The idea of getting married for love is actually a very modern one, and not a completely perfect idea.

For thousands of years of history, marriages were arranged.  In many pagan cultures, these were not good arrangements for the wife, who was often much younger than her husband, and usually one of several wives.  In cultures such as Mesopotamia, the husband could send his wife away just with the charge of adultery.  A man could accuse his wife of adultery, and even if the charge was false, the woman was executed.  This was a tragedy, but it was not because the marriages were arranged, but because the people who practiced this were immoral, and evil.

The ancient Hebrews also practiced arranged marriage.  However, because of the laws of Yahweh, the God of the Bible, these marriages lasted much longer and were much happier than many in other cultures.  The eighth commandment states, “You shall not commit adultery,” (Exodus 20:14), but in the Hebrew law, if a man or woman committed adultery, unlike in other cultures where typically just the wives were punished, both the proven adulterer and adulteress were put to death.  All other sexual immorality was also punished by death.  This is because God considers marriage sacred.

In the New Testament, Jesus points again to marriage as God created it, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.  Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate,” (John 10:5-9).  In this verse, Jesus talks about how special marriage is by saying that a marriage is a man and his wife becoming one flesh, and that a marriage should not be separated.

Finally, I believe that marriage between a man and a woman is special and Biblical because it reflects the relationship between Christ and the Church, (Ephesians 5:22-33).  This passage also describes the roles of the husband and wife in correlation to the Church and Christ.  The best marriages have Christ at the center, with the husband and wife serving each other, praying for each other, and sacrificing for each other.

On side note, although marriage is not for everyone, God commands that everyone who remains unmarried remain celibate.  In fact, the apostle Paul preferred to be single, because he believed that he could do more ministry that way. (1 Corinthians 7:25-40).

In conclusion, I believe that according to the scriptures, the only true marriage is that between a husband and a wife.  Marriage is a sacred covenant and should not be entered into lightly.  Romance is not everything, although it is part of the pleasure of marriage.  All in all, the unity of the marital relationship is something created by God to reflect the unity of the Trinity, thus it is sad to see it lose its value in divorces, adulteries, and other sexual immorality.  However, there is always healing for the broken, so even if a person has had a broken sexual past, he or she can find redemption at the cross, with Jesus’ sacrifice of love for all.  That is the greatest example of love in history, and it was done for every person who ever lived or will live.  That day, love won.

A Day of Ultimates

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The most intense twenty-four hour period in history.  To many in the Roman empire at that time, it was just an ordinary Thursday and Friday.  To the Jews that day it was one of many celebrations of the Passover.  To the world and history, it was the day of ultimate salvation.

A man, ultimately humble, yet ultimately powerful.  A simple carpenter from Nazareth who was the Son of God.  Fully God and fully man.  Tempted, yet without sin.  This was Jesus, the Christ.  “No form or majesty that we should look at him,” yet his name shall be called, “Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father,” “Emmanuel,” meaning “God with us.”

Jesus’ disciples did not know what was going to happen after that Passover meal, though they had been told by Jesus himself many times.  Their teacher, whom they respected above all men, got up from their feast and served them by washing their feet.  It was a day that they would never forget.

Then Jesus took them to the Mount of Olives to pray.  This was leading up to the moment of destiny, told about since the beginning of time, “he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”  However, Jesus still prayed that the cup be taken from him.  When the mob came to arrest him, Jesus could have called down a legion of angels to slay them, but he did not.  This was the moment where the ultimate predestined event met the ultimate act of freewill.

With Jesus’ crucifixion, the cross, which was the ultimate symbol of torture, punishment, and death, became the ultimate symbol of grace, freedom, and life.  The perfect man, completely without sin, bore the punishment for the sins of the world.

In that moment, irreconcilable paradoxes were reconciled.  The greatest measure of God’s wrath, and the greatest measure of God’s love were poured out.  Wrath and grace were poured out on those undeserving of it.  No moment was more terrible, and no moment was more beautiful.

In that hour, the Trinity was broken, the Son cut off from the father, and man was restored to his Creator.  On that Passover day, a day on which the Jews remembered that they were set apart by God, the door of salvation swung open wide to the whole of humanity.  The curtain was torn.

Jesus cry, “It is finished,” was the ultimate cry of surrender, and the ultimate cry of victory.  He died, and in his physical death, man was saved from eternal death.  The world mourned and the sky grew dark, and all was still.  The earth held it’s breath as its savior, for the glory set before him, endured the cross, despising its shame, and died.

But the story wasn’t over….Sunday was coming.

My Daddy

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I wish I had more time to cram all the things in here that I want to, but I only have so much space, time, and continuous thought.

Sixteen years ago, my dad became a father for the first time, I was his baby.  Since, then, my dad has done his best to love me, provide for me, protect me, and be the best dad ever.  With God’s help, he has done an amazing job.

My dad is gentle and kind, he is caring and thoughtful, he is strong yet sensitive, and when he messes up, he apologizes.  He is the spiritual head of our home, and leads us well.  I am very close to my daddy, and still love to give him tackle-hugs and sit on his lap.

I trust my dad, and I know that he wants what is best for me and my siblings.  He has this whole amazing dating plan.  Good luck to the young men who want to date and marry me or my sisters, you have to pass my dad’s inspection first.

To the man who teaches me how to love God, shows me what a godly man looks like, taught me how to throw a football and play baseball, who compliments me on my cooking, and who insists that I look too grown up,  I love you!

Thanks for all the fun, the love, the hugs, the discipline, and the encouragement.  Thanks for being my father and choosing to be a great daddy!

Love,

Emma

A Lesson From the Smokies

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My family recently when on vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  While there, we went on a hike in Smoky Mountain National Park.  It was a beautiful hike, and on the way up, I thought about how similar the hike was to the spiritual walk of a Christian.  I am not the only one who has made this sort of comparison.  Paul did in Hebrews 12, when he says “let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”(ESV).

The mountain itself could be considered time and life, so hiking up the mountain would be walking through life.  The steep upward trails represent the hard times and the trials, which make the level and downward paths so much sweeter.  Furthermore, with a backpack to carry, it makes the upward hike so much harder.  The backpack could represent a struggle or spiritual burden, weighing down the believer to the point of exhaustion.  When a friend carries that burden with you, through prayer and fellowship, it makes the climb so much easier.

One could be so focused on climbing up the trail and making it to the top, that he or she might not stop to see the beautiful view.  Just because we have to go through life, which takes work, does not mean we cannot stop for a minute and look at the big picture.  In fact, if one does not stop to see the big picture, the distant mountain which reflects the one which he is climbing, one would become frustrated by the difficulty of the climb and would be tempted to give up.

One might also be tempted to give up if one hikes up the mountain alone.  Without encouragement from others, a person would feel lonely and have no one to share struggles with, or to lean on when he gets tired.

The climb is tiring and difficult, but it is worth it.  At the top of the trail, our party sat at a beautiful waterfall, a place of rest.  From there, we could see the other mountains.  This place of peace could represent the end of life, as a believer slips from this life into the arms of Jesus.  He is the one who gives his children energy to climb the mountain and the perseverance to finish the hike.  Without the struggles, his people would not realize how sweet rest with him is.  This is why he lets them go through struggles and hard times, for it draws them closer to him.

This is the lesson that I learned while hiking in the mountains, to persevere through trouble, for at the end of this troublesome life is perfect rest.

Emma 

My Pathetic Mother’s Day Card

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Hi mom.  I love you.  I love you a lot.  You are my favorite mom and because today is Mother’s Day, this is my pathetic mother’s day card for you.

It’s pathetic, because it doesn’t thank you enough for the hours you spent up at night with me as a baby.  You carried me for nine months, went through labor, and sacrificed hours of precious sleep just for me.  I don’t deserve that kind of love.  You loved me when I gave you nothing.

This card is pathetic, because it is nowhere as cool as you doing tons of science projects with me and my siblings, taking us to the zoo and Children’s Museum many many times.  You let us have huge birthday parties, a privilege a lot of kids don’t get.  You love having people over, our house is never empty.  We might as well install a revolving door.  The coolest part is, that you love it.

I can’t believe you put up with homeschooling me for ten years, and teaching English at our little homeschool tutelage on top of that.  I am not sure how you have all the energy necessary for not only taking care of, but teaching four kids.  That’s a lot of work, and I am so thankful for all of it.

I’m sorry for the days when I’m difficult, those days when I would cry and harden my heart, those days when you were probably ready to quit.  I’m sorry if you don’t feel appreciated enough because I don’t cuddle with you like my siblings do, don’t give you enough hugs, don’t tell you that I love you enough.

Thank you for loving me, for buying my clothes, for making my meals, for hanging out with me, for hosting big birthday parties, for cleaning the house, for giving me education when I was little and for helping me with my schoolwork now, for putting up with my temper tantrums, for listening to me, for encouraging me.  Thank you for loving dad, for being a good example of what a wife is.  Thank you for loving your parents and parents-in-law.  Most of all, thank you for showing me Jesus, for leading me to him when I needed him.  You have been an example of Christ to me for sixteen years, and will continue to be so.

So here is my pathetic Mother’s Day card, I hope you like it.  I love you so so so so so times a billion so much.  Thank you for being my mom.

Love,

Emma

You Can’t Deny It

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Throughout their lives, many people deny various truths.  They do this because they are uncomfortable with or threatened by the truth.  In the end, it helps no one to deny the truth.

A truth that people have denied throughout the ages is that there is a fundamental problem with them and the world around them, the problem of sin.  Even if they acknowledge this truth, they deny that sin has consequences, or even if they accept this truth, they deny the way to be freed from the consequences of sin.  In short, people deny the gospel.

Men deny the gospel because of their hardened hearts, they do not want to have to admit that they have to rely on a savior, Jesus Christ, for salvation.  This is why, people over the ages have denied that Jesus is truly God.  If Jesus is truly God, then men must acknowledge that they are sinful and that they need the salvation of Jesus.  People just say that Jesus was a good man.  One should automatically know that this statement is false if one knows anything about Jesus or what he said.

Jesus claimed to be God, so he could not simply be a good man.  He was either lying, and was therefore a bad person, not God but believed he was, thus insane, or he was telling the truth.  This is the simple argument put forward by philosopher and apologist C.S. Lewis.

Was Jesus a liar?  Besides claiming that he was God, all of Jesus’ statements have been recognized as truth.  Furthermore, Jesus was a humble and truly good person.  Liars are not humble people, nor are they known for doing good deeds.  What did Jesus have to gain by claiming to be God?  In fact, he made a lot of enemies and was eventually crucified because of this claim.  A wise man would have recognized the consequences of such a claim.

Was Jesus crazy?  Afterall, he claimed to be divine!  Surely that is an insane statement.  However, Jesus showed himself to be wise in his discussions with the Pharisees and Saducees.  He was able to answer every one of their challenges.  Jesus also performed astounding miracles, miracles that would have to come from God when put with such truthful teaching.  Therefore, it does not make sense that Jesus was a lunatic.

In conclusion, one can see that Jesus fit one of three categories, he was either a liar, insane, or God.  As shown above, Jesus was neither a liar nor insane.  Therefore, Jesus must have been and still is God.

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” -John 8:58

Sweet Little Things

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Children truly are a blessing from the Lord, even if they can be  pains sometimes.  While I have no children of my own, I have so many “little” friends that I love.  I help in my church’s second-grade Sunday school class and every week, some kid makes my day!

Kids say the funniest things, the meanest things, and the sweetest things.  They have so much enthusiasm!  They have the biggest dreams and hopes.  They give love so easily.  I love talking with little kids, hearing what’s on their hearts and what is going on in their world.  No one has made me as happy as a child telling me that I’m beautiful.

Once, I was walking home from the pool with my cousin and he told me, “Emma, you’re my favorite cousin…if somebody saw you, he would love you.”  That made my heart melt, especially since I often struggle with insecurity.  A little girl told me something just as sweet just the other day.  She said that I was fascinating and different from other people.  I knew that she said this as a compliment, since I’ve received many a hug from her.

What I love most about little kids is their fascination with God.  Though they may not be able to comprehend the whole gospel, they understand that God is big and they are small, that they are sinners and that God is good.  They know that Jesus “died on the cross for our sins,” and love singing about how much they love Jesus.  They do not question that God exists, they do not question the fact that he loves them.  Their faith is beautiful.

My Definition of Love

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Before reading this post, I’d encourage you to watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPtOm9UXfnU

Dictionary.com defines love as “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.”  This is the emotional side of love, what we typically think of.  My definition of love is giving up your life for someone else.

My definition of love, in its truest sense, is a person.  A perfect person, who watched the people whom he had created destroy themselves.  He wanted to save them, so he became human.  He became human though he was God.  He suffered all kinds of affliction.  Though he never committed any sin, he was condemned to die.  Condemned to die on a cross.  There, on the cross, Jesus faced the worse torture a man has ever known.  He felt pain, rejection, and the weight of the guilt of every person ever born.  Crying, “It is finished,” he died.

The love story does not end there.  After lying in the grave, dead, seemingly defeated, for three days, Jesus did something amazing.  By the power of God, Jesus came back to life.  He came fully alive.  In fact, he was more alive than he had been before he died.  He conquered the grave for us!  That is amazing love.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.