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The Paradox Of Love

February 20, 2012

When it comes to selfless love, everything’s pretty much “as advertised”. The best recipe for selfless love I’ve ever seen is probably 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 —

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

But love of the conventional variety, selfish love, is rather paradoxical in nature, and if you really think about it, self-defeating. Let me give you some examples of this:

Hatred: Love is attached.
Discrimination: Love is specific.
Jealousy: Love is insecure.
Adultery: Love is greedy.
Anger: Love is disappointed
Loneliness: Love is out-of-touch
Anxiety: Love is conflicted
Sadness: Love is unrequited

So interestingly enough, when love is selfishly motivated, it often produces something that is quite the opposite of love. In fact, if the history of humans were to be my witness, I will argue that love of the selfish variety will inevitably produce some, if not all of the above emotions at some point. Is there anyone who has had a selfish love who can deny experiencing any of the above negative emotions as a result of their love? If so, that person must surely be a national treasure, and they are most likely not even human.

I believe that suffering is an inevitable part of selfish love, and it is there as a warning, to teach us that nothing selfish, not even something as pure as love itself, can be free of suffering. If you are selfish, you will suffer accordingly, and even in love you will suffer so long as your love is selfish.

Let’s break free of this paradox of love, and learn to love selflessly, so that our love might be free, pure, and complete. Only then will we experience the untainted pleasure that only comes from love of the selfless variety!

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