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Question

 

Dear Gramps,
Hi, I am John. Before I be a Mormon I was from a charismatic church. One day I told my ex church female leader that I love Jesus so much, He is my bridegroom and I am his bride. He is my lover, my Saviour, my friend, my Lord and I am in love with so much and when I go to heaven I will hug Jesus, kiss him and hold His hand. To my surprise my ex church female leader insulted me for being dirty minded. Hey, I did not say I will have any sexual contact with Jesus. I only mean spiritually, after all Jesus is God not human. And in the Bible Jesus says if we are not denied of him the angels in the heaven also will not deny us, so I do not felt ashamed to say I am in love with Jesus so much even though I am a male, He is my lover. So do you think I am right or wrong?
John, from Sungai Petani, Kedah, Malaysia

Answer

 

Dear John,
Verbal communication is a most interesting and rather complicated process. You have a thought that you want to express. This thought is accompanied by certain feelings and emotions. So you express the thought in words. The words, with specific definitions, are very restrictive in their meanings, and almost always convey only a limited part of what one thinks or feels. The person hearing your words interprets them according to his/her own understanding of their definitions, and they invoke in his/her mind impressions and feelings that are related to his/her past experience with the words he/she hears. Further, that which is spoken in not always heard exactly as it was spoken. So one person speaks some words with particular meanings that are related to his own experience with those words, while the listening person hears sounds that he may interpret as different words, which would be interpreted according to his own experience with those words. In addition, the inflection of the voice and the emotion, the facial expression and the “body language” with which the words are spoken convey shades of meaning of their own. So the Tower of Babel is ever with us. Now you ask, “Do you think that I am right or wrong?” It depends entirely on what you mean by what you say. It appears by my interpretation of your words that you feel a very close association with the Savior as your own Lord and Master, and that the love you express for him is the same love as that expressed by Jesus in John 14:21—

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

And your expressed desire to kiss Jesus I would imagine came from the same thought as expressed in Romans 16:16—

Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.

To say that Jesus is your lover carries with it in our modern idiom the connotation of physical love. However, you explain that this concept was not what was in your mind as expressed by your choice of words. The problem of different language backgrounds also influences the meanings attached to particular words. Words in one language may have shades of meaning that have no direct equivalent in another language. A classical example of this is found in the interchange between Peter and the resurrected Savior that early morning on the beach of the sea of Tiberias. Seven of the disciples had been fishing all night and had caught nothing, and when they came to shore they found there the resurrected Lord, who had also been fishing. He had made a little fire and had the fish on the fire and some bread, prepared to give breakfast to those disciples that he loved. Then follows this interesting exchange between the Savior and Peter—

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. (John 21:15-17)

However, there are three different words in Greek translated as the word, love, in English. They are

agapao, to love dearly. The definition of this word is expanded to “the pure love of Christ.”

phileo, brotherly love. We see the interpretation in English in the word, Philadelphia–phileo combined with adelphos, meaning brother. Hence Philadelphia is named “the city of brotherly love.”

eros, meaning erotic love.

If we were to translate the above interchange using the English equivalents of the word, love, as it appeared in the original Greek, the exchange would have gone something like this—

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me [agapao] more than these? He saith unto him, No, Lord; you know that I love you [phileo] like a brother. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me [agapeo] with the pure love of Christ? He saith unto him, No, Lord, I love you [phileo] like a brother. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you really love me [phileo] like a brother? Peter was grieved because he said unto him this time, do you love me [phileo] like a brother? And he said unto him, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you [phileo] like a brother. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

All those nuances are lost by translating two words with very distinct meanings in Greek to just one word in English. It is my feeling from what you have said that your teacher also misinterpreted the meaning of your words when you said that you were in love with Jesus, rather then the more common phrase that you loved Jesus. And I would assume that your style of expression was the result of English being your second language, and something was lost in the interpretation in a similar manner to the above example of confusion resulting from translating Greek into English. Gramps

 

Gramps

 

 

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