Monday, January 11, 2016

Love Is All We Need

Companionship is an important
facet of love but Christianity expands
upon love even further.
This is the idealistic statement from the sixties that The Beatles turned into a popular song.  As Christians understand that God is love from the letters of John, we can agree with this statement to some extent.  However, psychologist Abraham Maslow would likely disagree if taken literally.  Maslow developed a hierarchy of needs that begins with our physiological needs.  Basically, things like water, food and air.  Even these have a hierarchy in that if you were thirsty and someone had a choke hold on your throat, you would pursue getting air before finding a drink of water!

Maslow believed that once these needs were taken care of, we can begin to worry about the second tier which include safety and security issues.  These issues such as freedom from crime or natural disaster come into play here.  At the third level of need is where we find love as well as belonging needs.  When all of the previous needs are met, we may look for love in a marriage as well as belonging to different groups in society.

Next, we begin to look for a little self-esteem.  Maslow noted two versions of esteem needs, a lower one and a higher one.  The lower one is the need for the respect of others, the need for status, fame, glory, recognition, attention, reputation, appreciation, dignity, and even dominance.  The higher form involves the need for self-respect, including such feelings as confidence, competence, achievement, mastery, independence, and freedom.  Note that this is the “higher” form because, unlike the respect of others, once you have self-respect, it’s a lot harder to lose!

Finally, Maslow said that if we meet all of these conditions, we can work on self-actualization.  Maslow thought that only about 2% of the world’s population met this final stage.  When we are worried about meeting any of the lower needs, it is difficult to worry about the philosophy of our lives.

The apostle Paul might agree somewhat with Maslow.  Maslow's examination of people that he believed had achieved self-actualization found that they often operated out of a sense of love for humanity in general.  Paul states his own hierarchy of spiritual gifts by putting love over hope and even above faith!  What does this mean for us as Christians?  We’ll examine Paul’s understanding of love from 1 Corinthians 13 over the next four weeks as we finish the season of Epiphany.  If you are unable to attend in person, check out the sermons on our youtube page.  

In Christ,


Photo by Mike DelGaudio (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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