Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Public forum to discuss questions about Mormon history and doctrine.
Poppyseed
Posts: 389
Joined: 19 Jul 2009, 15:44

Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Poppyseed » 27 Aug 2009, 08:56

swimordie wrote:Perfect, Orson. I see you played this game with your family before I "played" it here.

That was my exact point. I guess having the obvious as a rhetorical now, we can move on to the next logical: where does obedience end and love begin or where does love end and obedience begin?

Well, in my life they both work together to help me get where God wants me to go. Sometimes it is love that brings me to obedience. Other times it is obedience that trains me up in love.
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” --old Chinese proverb

User avatar
Orson
Site Admin
Posts: 2252
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 14:44

Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Orson » 27 Aug 2009, 12:22

swimordie wrote:...we can move on to the next logical: where does obedience end and love begin or where does love end and obedience begin?
That is an excellent question to ponder. I often wonder about our ability as mortals to understand "perfect love" well enough in some difficult situations to know what action will demonstrate the greater love. I guess in such "gray" areas it's most important to HAVE the love - even if we don't know how to perfectly demonstrate it.
My avatar - both physical and spiritual.

I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

swimordie
Posts: 755
Joined: 02 Jun 2009, 21:50

Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by swimordie » 27 Aug 2009, 17:03

You guys really make me think. I had a thought.

Christ wasn't perfect.

How's that for a starter!

What I mean is that he broke pretty hard, fast, "commandments" in the context of who he was, where he lived, etc. In fact, these were held against him at the trial that led to his execution. If he was perfectly obedient, why did he break these commandments? Obviously, I know why. My point is just that: he was obedient to his higher power! Not the decrees of his religion.

If I drank wine at the communion of my nephew to demonstrate love and support for him and his family, which level of the celestial kingdom would I be forfeiting? ;) (too cynical?? :roll: )

Not sure my point, that just felt like a huge epiphany for me. :oops:
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 15996
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Curt Sunshine » 27 Aug 2009, 18:00

Ultimately, we believe that we will be judged according to our obedience to our own consciences - and our attempts to change our natural (wo)man into the image of our ideal, GOD.

It's finding the balance between those two ideals that is fascinating and difficult for me - letting the second ideal guide my attempts to understand and live according to the first ideal. The central struggle, imo, might be not letting the first ideal overshadow the second - not allowing our perception of what we are inclined to do to take priority over what we MUST do to learn and grow and stretch.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Poppyseed
Posts: 389
Joined: 19 Jul 2009, 15:44

Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Poppyseed » 27 Aug 2009, 18:08

I really really love this topic. It's such a balancing act...all of this. I wish we talked more in the church about balance. I think so many are stuck in perfectionistic patterns. I still have to battle those tendancies in my head and I don't think this is God's paradigm at all!

I love that Christ was a bit of a boat rocker. I guess I thought the restoration was that kinda thing too. Perhaps we just aren't as good at keeping the balance at Jesus was. :)

But for me and my journey, I really feel like I want to pursue what love really is and try best I can to be better at it or perhaps qualify for the gifts of the Lord in this regard. Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it.
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” --old Chinese proverb

swimordie
Posts: 755
Joined: 02 Jun 2009, 21:50

Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by swimordie » 27 Aug 2009, 22:33

Poppyseed wrote:Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it.
This is so great, poppy. I love it so much I might make it my signature. That was sooooo me!!!!!! :oops:
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

User avatar
Jordan
Posts: 86
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 19:11

Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Jordan » 27 Aug 2009, 23:25

Great topic, guys.
HiJolly wrote: We first start out obeying due to either example or coersion. At least, I did. Then it was reinforced by the Church's social/cultural 'norm' of (surface) obedience.

Then I found as I obeyed at length and did so because *I* mostly wanted to, that the reasons for the commandments began to be clear to me.

Then after a while God blessed me with His Love (a mystical consciousness kinda thing) and then at last, for the first time, I knew what love really was! I also knew the significance of the statement "We love Him because He first Loved us".

Then at last, the commandments became a joy to live, as I understood "If ye love me, keep my commandments".

That was/is my journey.

HiJolly
I think this is absolute poetry.

Commandments aren't made to be kept. They are tools to be used.
That duty driven obedience is good starting out, good for getting us into good habits. But invariably we ask ourselves 'what am I doing?' just like Daniel Caruso in the Karate Kid (YES, I did just cite the Karate freaking Kid. Rent it.)

But we're not using the rules the way they were meant to be used until we see what they're for. Daniel-san had trouble obeying 'wax on wax off' until he saw that doing it made him awesome. Suddenly the idea of obeying disappeared, swallowed by the idea of becoming.

There comes a point where we stop obeying the rules. Instead we do things for love of a purpose. So, in my foggy brain (a brain that cites 80s movies as much as humanly possible), comparing perfect obedience to perfect love is like comparing waxing cars to winning a fight. They can't be at odds. Commandments are tools. We use them or we don't. When used without insight, we grow resentful. When used with insight, we grow in love.

swimordie
Posts: 755
Joined: 02 Jun 2009, 21:50

Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by swimordie » 29 Aug 2009, 15:46

Jordan wrote: There comes a point where we stop obeying the rules. Instead we do things for love of a purpose.
That's a GREAT description of Christ's example of love vs. obedience.
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

User avatar
Heber13
Posts: 6865
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Heber13 » 29 Aug 2009, 22:39

I think this is where my view of universal truth fits in. Obedience to the correct truth includes love, not in opposition to it.

I think when you are 100% obedient to God's commandments...you are expressing 100% love to God for understanding His will and for your neighbor for serving God and blessing your neighbor.

In other words, if we truly understood the reason for obedience, it would include doing whatever you're doing out of love.

On the flip side, you could be obedient to a commandment to the letter of the law as you interpret it, but if that is being done in hate or spite for others or pride...it is not really obedient to the spirit of the law God gave the commandment under, and therefore may be obedient to a rule, but not obedient to God's will.

Think of Christ healing on the sabbath... that act was perfectly obedient in keeping the sabbath holy and loving others and loving God. Those who saw it repulsive and wrong were the ones not understanding the commandment in the first place.

I'm trying to think of an example of righteous obedience that is not done out of love. Tonight, I can't think of one.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Poppyseed
Posts: 389
Joined: 19 Jul 2009, 15:44

Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Poppyseed » 30 Aug 2009, 17:21

Maybe Heber, that's what the Lord meant when he said that " if ye have not Charity, ye are nothing."
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” --old Chinese proverb

Post Reply