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Friday
Nov062009

6.3 Human Love

As a genuine marriage involves joining of minds, it also means sharing feelings. The ability to share feelings is basic to human happiness. The Lord’s teachings for the New Church say,

“In the other life there is a most exquisite communication and perception of all the affections and thoughts, so that each person communicates his joy to all, and all to each, so that each one is as it were the center of all” (Secrets of Heaven 549). “Love consists in willing what one has to be another’s, and in feeling the other’s delight as delight within oneself. That is what it is to love.” (Divine Love and Wisdom 47).

As love is sharing another’s joy, it is also sharing another’s suffering. The words “empathy,” “sympathy,” and “compassion” all come from a root (pathos) that means both “feeling” and  “suffering.” They involve feeling with another person or getting into their feelings, particularly their suffering.

“Love is itself turned to compassion and becomes compassion when anyone who is in need of help is regarded from love or charity. So compassion is the effect of love toward the needy and miserable” (Secrets of Heaven 3063).

This is the kind of love that Jesus displayed.

“When He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

Love and compassion are what essentially make us human.

“Love and charity make a person human, while hatred, revenge, and cruelty make a wild animal of him” (Secrets of Heaven 1006).

Our fierce emotions are like wild animals, and our gentle ones like gentle animals, but our compassionate ability to feel another’s feelings is the truly human part of us.

Humans:   Love, Compassion
Gentle Animals:   Fear, Pain, Pleasure
Fierce animals:   Anger, Contempt

“Married love is unique to human beings, because none but human beings can become spiritual. They are able to raise their intellect above their natural loves, and from that height to look down on them and see them for what they are; they can also improve, correct and banish them. This is something no animal can do” (Married Love 96). 

“In a marriage of true married love, each partner becomes more and more deeply human, for that love opens the deeper aspects of their minds, and as these are opened, a person becomes more and more human” (Married Love 200).


In the Genesis story, the humans were to have dominion over the animals. God commanded this because He wants our inner compassionate self to govern our lower, worldly and self-centered feelings. Our human desires should be in control of our ani-mal desires. When we reach the level of true compassion in our relationships, we have reached the sixth day, and have become an image and likeness of God.