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young lady asked me what is the definition of ‘love’’...is it supposed to be like a roller coaster ride full of happiness, hurt, pain and drama or is it supposed to be smooth sailing with maybe one ot two delays but nothing major? The truth is love has many defintions depending on what kind of love you are talking about. Unfortunately in the English language there is only one word used for love, whereas in other languages there are several words and defintions used for the same word depending on how it is being used. True love is an attitude of heart and it comes from a choice we make to seek the highest good of another without any other ulterior motive than to do good to the other person. Every relationship needs to be based on this kind of love – whether it be a romantic one or not. We all know that romantic feelings can fluctatuate and even sometimes die. The ‘in love’ feeling that we experience as human

beings is commonly mistaken for true benevolent love. The truth is the feelings that we experience when we are extremely attracted to our lover/spouse is based on a chemical reaction that takes place in the brain which releases the neurotransmitter called ‘dopamine’. Dopamine is is the same kind of chemcial that that is released when people take cocaine and other forms of class A drugs. It is a ‘pleasure’ hormone that is also released during sexual activity between partners as well as some other hormones that are released that create a bonding between two people (although the bonding chemical often released in a much higher volumes in women). The bonding hormone is also the same kind of hormone that is released during child birth which causes a woman to bond with her newborn child. That is why the ‘FEELING’ of being ‘IN LOVE’ is so pleasureable but yet is not enough to sustain a healthy and long lasting

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“relationships should be smooth” relationship with anyone. Therefore when people no longer feel the ‘pleasure’ they say ‘I don’t love this person anymore’. The truth is they probably had a false perception of what love is in the first place– therefore once the feeling left they no longer wanted the relationship. Love in itself is a character which we develop and mature in over time. The bible gives it a beautiful definition in 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 7. It says... ‘love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.’ When we carry out the attributes of love towards one another – how can the love die? The truth is true love never dies...in the same way God’s love for us never dies – if he ever stopped loving us..he would cease to be who he is because we know that ‘God IS love’ (1 John 4:8). When we truly love one another according to what is written, there will be no room for selfishness, a mean excahnge of words, & frequent outbursts of jealousy etc because both individuals are ultimately seeking the highest good for each other. In reality we know that it takes two people to make a relationship work but it only takes one to

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destroy it. That is why you shouldn’t be in such a hurry to be in a relationship with someone just because you feel an intense attraction towards them. The proper love foundation needs to be laid and built upon. The ‘in love’ feeling just adds pleasure to the relationship but is not its foundation. If you find you are constantly struggling in a relationship, it’s either you are not designed to be together, each party does not know enough yet to be in a relationship or you are not applying the principles of love. Relationships should be smooth. That does not mean you will not have challenges. We know we are all a work in progress but there shoud be a smoothness to relationship as it progresses. A healthy relationship brings two people closer together not constantly having them at one anothers throats. Sometimes a relationship may need to come to an end for the sake of the spiritual, psycholigical and sometimes physical welfare of the people involved. Even when this happens the ending of it needs to be based on the motive of love. To end a relationship doesn’t mean that you do not love each other – it just means you’ve both acknowledged that bringing to an end is the kindest, selfless thing can you do for the other person involved. Remeber REAL LOVE is a CHOICE and not a FEELING. Choose to be a man or woman of love and watch your lives flourish and blossom the way God orignally intended. If this article has been a blessing to you or if you have any comments please email realtalk@ministryinart.com


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lessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Matthew 5:8-9

Many relationships, especially marital, are plagued with misunderstandings, criticism, conflict and the like. Arguably the most destructive cause of conflict is due to assumptions. Assumption is the lowest form of information and therefore borderline ignorance. It is belief without proof! Unfortunately instead of questioning our assumptions, many of us act on assumptions as if they were the truth.

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Much of the conflict that takes place between people can be avoided when we understand the relationship between facts and feelings. It is often said that women are led by emotions and men are more logical. However all of us are emotional, although we have different ways of expressing it. 95% of all human emotion is self-created, only 5% is due to chemical or hormonal reaction. Therefore it is a fallacy to believe that emotions such as anger, jealousy or fear are all 'natural' reactions to a given situation. It is the ‘meaning’ you give to the situation that creates these emotions. Positive meaning triggers pleasurable emotions, a negative meaning triggers painful emotions. Hence, emotions are the outcome of how you think. For example, if you are given half a glass of water, would you consider it half full or half empty? Although neither answer is incorrect your answer will determine how you feel. Negative thinkers draw negative conclusions, but there are always different ways of looking at the same thing.

viewpoints and go through differing experience. These distortions are influenced by many factors of our personality such as values, beliefs, goals, focus and the like. Hence all of us have a subjective perception of reality. Here are some common examples of distorted thinking that occur, especially when we are upset:

To give further light on this subject, let us look at a map. A map is a graphical representation of a geographical location. The map is merely illustrative; it is not the territory! In like manner in order to make sense of any event, situation and the world around us, we must give it a meaning. Like the map the meanings derived serve as our own interpretation of a larger and more detailed reality. Non of us are in the position to see the whole picture in full clarity. As Paul says “we know in part, and we prophesy in part. For now we are looking through a mirror that gives only a dim reflection” (1 Corinthians 13:9-12 paraphrased).

1. Personalization - taking valid comments as personal insults or blaming yourself for something you could not control. 2. All or nothing thinking - seeing events in extreme terms and allowing no room for shades of grey or middle ground. 3. Magnification and minimization - exaggerating the negative and minimizing the positive. 4. Catastrophizing - imagining or assuming the worst case scenario. 5. Over-Generalization - drawing sweeping conclusions based on a single event

To further complicate things, the meaning we give to any particular situation is derived by our own distorted viewpoint and thinking – known as distortions. No two people see things in the same way. Even if there were standing together looking together at the same thing, each would see something different, express differing

It is important to note that all of us have a distorted concept of reality. In many cases our distortions lead us to jump over a great deal of logic, common sense and experience in order to reach extreme conclusions (assumption), which in turn creates painful, destructive emotions, behavioural response and severe conse-


army, thousands of his people and his firstborn son. As mentioned earlier, the meaning we give to any particular situation is derived by our own distorted viewpoint and thinking. No two people see things in the same way. Therefore your perception of the world is a reflection of the way you are! Jesus said “the eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound (good), your entire body will be full of light. But if your eye is unsound (evil), your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the very light in you [your conscience] is darkened, how dense is that darkness (Matthew 6:2223). The ‘eye’ Jesus is talking about is your mind’s eye as it is impossible for your physical eye to make moral judgment. You can choose how you want to look at the world and thus change your experience of the world. You are the sole creator of the meanings that you give to the events and experiences of your life. Each of us is equipped with the unique human endowment of being able to step out of our programming and question the way we think and behave. Remember your thoughts are the cause and your feelings are the effects (the meaning creates the feeling).

quences. To further increase the problem, in order to handle the vast amount of information that you encounter on a daily basis, the human mind (on a subconscious level) only presents to you the things that support your beliefs and values and rejects evidence to the contrary. Therefore if through painful past hurts you have come to the conclusion that all men are cheats or all women are after your money - your mind will actively seek for what it would consider 'evidence' to support that claim and overlook the 'evidence' that does not support that belief. Jesus said that the reason for divorce is 'hardness of heart'. Hardness of heart is when we hold fast to and seek to reinforce the assumptions we have about one another. A hardened heart refuses to question the validity of its belief in the face of conflicting evidence. The biblical account of Israel's exodus from Egypt serves as a prime example of hardness of heart. The ancient Egyptian Pharaohs believed they were gods and were worshipped as such. However when the true God showed up and demonstrated His power in the form of plagues, the bible says Pharaoh hardened his heart. In others words he refused to concede to the only almighty God and held firm to the belief of his own deity. In the end this led to the destruction of his

Although all of us have a distorted and subjective perception of reality, there is another perception which is not subjective – on the contrary, it is absolute. This is God’s perception otherwise known as faith! Faith is the undistorted way of looking at life. It is based on the absolute truth of God’s word, not facts or opinion. Faith deals with true reality, for with God nothing is impossible! Therefore the task of all believers is to reconcile their thinking with that of faith. This calls for an open-minded approach to God’s word rather than a closed, deeply religious and highly subjective stance. Many of us struggle to reconcile our experiences with God’s word; God says your healed, you experience sickness, God says you are blessed, however you are struggling to make ends meet. The main reason for this perceived disparity is our misunderstanding of the relationship between ideals and reality. To reach the ideal you must deal with reality, not skip over it as many believers try to do. As the writer says “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). Faith is the tool that enables us master our lives. It brings us into alignment with true reality – which is ultimately God. The more we are able to bring our way of thinking into alignment with God’s way of thinking, through faith, the purer (undistorted) our hearts (mind) will be. With a pure heart we will experience the reality of God’s word and therefore see His providence in our lives.

If this article has been a blessing to you in anyway please email: pearls@ministryinart.com THANK YOU.

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