Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Schools of Love

Martin Luther, with prophetic perception, wrote, “Marriage is the school oflove”—that is, marriage is not the home or the result of love so much as the school (England 3).

I have been thinking about the "schools of love" that we can belong to.

Marriage is definitely one where we have to learn to let go of our self-interest and turn to selfless and self-giving love. As I have posted about before, it is an opportunity to learn Godly love.

But there are other schools I want to discuss...

I am a member of a wonderful caring family. One where I have had to learn to be sensitive to the feelings and desires of others and where I have found incredible joy in serving and easing the burdens of those I love.  In a good family we can learn "faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work" and wholesome ways to enjoy the company of others (Family). And in a difficult one we can learn patience, long-suffering, understanding. We are all blessed to come into families that will teach us lessons of no-strings-attached-because-we're-family-love. It is a powerfully binding love, similar to the kind that God has for us, that does not change no matter what we do/who we are. It is love that grows from intimately knowing. (1 Sam. 16:7)

To learn to love defines us as children of Christ. "We are created in the image of our heavenly parents; we are God’s spirit children. Therefore, we have a vast capacity for love—it is part of our spiritual heritage" and God has designed and designated the family as part how we learn to become like him, through love (Uchtdorf). He also organized the church to do this.

We belong to the true church, where "there are constant opportunities for all to serve, especially to learn to serve people we would not normally choose to serve—or possibly even associate with—and thus opportunities to learn to love unconditionally. There is constant encouragement, even pressure, to be “active”: to have a calling” and thus to have to grapple with relationships and management, with other peoples ideas and wishes, their feelings and failures; to attend classes and meetings and to have to listen to other people’s sometimes misinformed or prejudiced notions and to have to make some constructive response; to have leaders and occasionally to be hurt by their weakness and blindness, even unrighteous dominion; and then to be made a leader and find that you, too, with all the best intentions, can be weak and blind and unrighteous. Church involvement teaches us compassion and patience as well as courage and discipline. It makes us responsible for the personal and marital, physical, and spiritual welfare of people we may not already love (or may even heartily dislike), and thus we learn to love them. It stretches and challenges us, though disappointed and exasperated, in ways we would not otherwise choose to be— and thus gives us a chance to be made better than we might choose to be, but ultimately need and want to be" (England 4).

It makes sense that love is the "greatest" commandment (Matt. 22:37-40). And so it makes sense that God would bless us through the grace of the "schools of love" to learn in every way possible to keep that commandment, to love as freely and powerfully as He loves us.
How clearly the Savior spoke when He said that every other commandment hangs upon the principle of love. If we do not neglect the great laws—if we truly learn to love our Heavenly Father and our fellowman with all our heart, soul, and mind—all else will fall into place (Uchtdorf).


  1. I don't know how I would categorize it but I think being a single adult and dating has been a school of love.

    I have had to learn how to have and show Christ like love for guys that I am not IN love with. On the other hand, I've had to learn how to have and show Christ like love for guys who are not in love with ME. And everyone in between.

    Relating and interacting with all sorts of people as a young single adult has been an incredible chance to learn to love others under very unique circumstances.

  2. I agree and this is something I am pretty grateful for actually -- I think I am more capable of love precisely because I have stayed single as long as I have. Thank you for putting that into words. I always love your comments.