Rethinking the Bachelor

Preliminary Reading: Defining Love

Every week, my wife sits down to watch the Bachelor. Sometimes I can convince myself to watch with her. Sometimes it takes alcohol. Regardless, I have watched more of the Bachelor than I care to admit.

You probably know the drill: there is one guy courting over twenty women. Basically, the future for the bachelor is completely uncertain. He has no idea going in which of these women he is going to pick. So when he looks forward to the finale of the show, it could be anyone. Or any of the group at least.

the bachelor

The girls, on the other hand, have one guy in mind, presumably. Each of them eventually imagines a future with the bachelor. But, of course, only one wins. Everyone else goes home angry and confused.

So while they all hope for a future with the bachelor, realistically, their chances are small. But more importantly they are living with conflicts. If one sees the bachelor as her future partner, the next girl probably does as well. But both of these futures cannot be true at the same time. True love is impossible.

The only way for a potential future with one girl to be real is for other potential futures to be false. So any true love between the bachelor and anyone else must be false. Essentially, if one girl has found true love, all the others have not.

If everyone was realistic, the bachelor and contestants would all be uncertain. Uncertain about their chances, their love, and the bachelor’s love of them. The only certainty comes when people are eliminated. So that the maximal confidence in any relationship is fifty percent, when we expect to see proposals. The only thing that is certain is heartbreak. 

On Hating Life

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26
In my last book, I looked at love and hate at depth, from a new perspective.  With those definitions in mind, what does this verse mean? Simply that we prefer the love of God and truth of Christ to that of anything else, even our own families. If you are perfectly in love with the life you have, why would you be willing to walk with Jesus?

If right now is the pinnacle of your existence, why would you look forward? 

It’s really just about comparing love. If I love my life more than I love Jesus, I will simply keep doing what I am doing. But if I start choosing the will of God over my own, if God’s will is the main priority in my life, and my eyes are forward, looking toward eternity, I hate this life. Because I value what is next more than I value what is now.

Clearly we are being called to put our stock in the next world. 

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. Matthew 16:25

Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:25
It’s really simple. If God exists, and the Bible is true, heaven is real. And if heaven is real, and you are going, you prefer that world to this world. Therefore, you hate this world. And your existence in this world is your life.

As long as you believe that heaven exists, and you are saved, why would you not prefer that world to this one? And once you do, do you not hate your life? 

Orienting Your Soul

You can’t love everything: because not everything is good. So when we start to love things that aren’t good, we disorient our souls.

If you loved everything equally, why would you care what you did next? How would you decide what to do? If all paths were equal, you would just take the path of least resistance. 

But all paths aren’t equal. There is clearly black and white, right and wrong.

If our goal is to love God better, and spend more time with him, the best way to orient our souls is to align our values with his. To love what he loves, and hate what he hates.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. -Romans 12:9

So if we begin to do the same, and choose realties and make decisions based on this guidance, we can be with him more.

The closer we get to understanding the right and wrong that’s established for us in his Word, the better we can orient ourselves with his values. And the better we orient ourselves with his values, the better decisions we can make. And the better decisions we make, the more tightly we can follow the path that he’s set before us.

We Must Forgive

Because we are not perfect, we must forgive ourselves. Because those who we love are not perfect, we must forgive them. Why, because when we don’t forgive them, a portion of them starts to fall outside of our set of love. Meaning that we begin to hate that part of them. And when we hate a part of something, we imagine fewer realties with it. And when we imagine fewer realties with them, we distance ourselves from them and from God.

Our friends and loved ones will never live up to our expectations. If we can manage to expect less, we can be grateful for what they do. For those things that we do expect, when they miss the mark, we must forgive them. It’s the only way to love them properly.

The Magic of Forgiveness

If love is where life happens and where God is, forgiveness is our way to change our hate into dislike, and bring people and events from the darkness into the light.

For instance, if someone wronged you in some terrible way, you may hate them. They have moved a portion of your reality into darkness. If you can manage to separate the wrong from the soul, and forgive it, you can make meaningful progress in moving into a reality where you can love God better.

For a traumatic event, you may hate someone or a portion of yourself. You may hate the portion of you that allowed it to happen, or the portion of them that committed the crime. Learning to forgive myself has been a huge challenge. And if I have done the wrong, I am the one that has ventured out of the light into the darkness. The only way back in is self-forgiveness.

The difference between a grudge and forgiveness is the difference between hate and dislike.

The only difference between hate and dislike is tolerance. If you dislike something, you accept that you will have to endure it. When you hate it, you are actively looking for ways to avoid it. Forgiveness is the magic that helps us move things from hate to dislike.

But we need reasons to forgive. If your believe system doesn’t provide these, you need to keep looking. In Christianity, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. So we forgive.

It’s also important for our mental health. Imagine, for instance, that you hate firearms. Realities with firearms scare you. Therefore, to avoid all future realities with firearms in them, you have to really think ahead. But no matter how much planning you do, you’ll likely have another encounter with a firearm, and you’ll hate it. So maybe you seclude yourself. If you never exit your home, you’ll never have to encounter another firearm, or the fear that you’ve associated with it. But you see, your freedom from fear has become a freedom from freedom. 

Obviously you can’t forgive a gun. The next step would be determine the real source. Maybe it was military,  the death of a loved one, or any number of other things. Whatever it was, it can be identified. You don’t hate guns. You hate what someone did with one. If you can piece apart the person and object from the crime, you can begin to forgive, and start moving forward. 

Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. – Colossians 3:13

 

Loving God Better

In a world of love, you literally choose to accept the contents of reality without imagining anyone being removed from that set.

In the set of love, one can use the like/dislike system to establish personal preferences, and eventually personality. And as you know God is love. This establishes character in a stable set.

Life happens in the set of love. 

If a personality is not built in the set of love, it is not stable. If it is built on hate, even on conditional hate, it is built on the ability to remove something from reality. Basically imagining things not existing. So it would be basing personal preferences on something that is unstable, or that does not exist.

For instance, when you say I hate photographers, you’re really thinking I prefer reality without photographers. But it’s not realistic. Photographers exist. So next time you’re around a photographer, you’ll hate it. And be probably miserable. Because you will exist outside the set of love.

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Grudges are a great example of how hate can make unstable realities. If you have a grudge against someone, and are at a party together. All is well until you run into that person. And things get awkward. You were fine until this hate entered your realty. Now you wish either they weren’t here or you weren’t here, but you’re stuck. And instead of enjoying yourself, you’re thinking about how either you want them to leave or you want to leave yourself.

If you hate the way you feel, you are distancing yourself from God. It seems trivial, and I’m not saying you need to like the way you feel. But dislike is not hate. When you got married, you promised in sickness and in health. God wants the same thing.

So if we live inside the set of love, and develop logic and personalities around our identity in this set, we can love God in more realities, and thus imagine more realities with God, and thus love Him better.

 

 

The Pride Trap

Pride is thinking your past or present makes you better than someone else. Humility is the opposite of pride. Humility is closely correlated with gratitude, which we said was greatest when expectations approached zero. Therefore, pride occurs when expectations are higher. The more we expect, the more prideful we are. And the more prideful we are, the harder it is to be happy.

If we were all made in the image of God and God is with us all, there is nothing to set you apart from the next person. You are equally special and important.

To think, I am better than everyone else, forces you to disconnect. No one is worthy of your love, so your reality begins to merge with realities that only include you. Loving this reality is the same as hating everyone else.

The more qualifications you have on your love, the less love you will have. And the less love you have, the less God you have.

Imperfect Love

Alternate Title: I Hate My Job

Can you love your life while looking forward to time away from her? No, not perfectly. If you look forward to time spent away from your wife, you are literally hating your wife, by our definition of love. So while you probably don’t hate her, your thoughts tell a different story.

What does looking forward to retirement say about your job? If you look forward to retirement, like most of us do, what does that say about you? You are looking forward to realities that do not include your job, therefore you hate your job in some capacity. You can’t truly love your job until you can see all future realities including it.

What if I look forward to when I put my kid to bed? If you look forward to putting your kids to bed, what are you saying about them. They aren’t tired yet. You put them down because you are excited about the freedom and time away from them. Be careful though, because this love of absence is the definition of hate.

So how do we love better? We stop imagining scenarios that involve us being apart from the people or things that we claim to love.

God loves us now and forever. He’s not trying to retire, or put us down, or just get some time to fish with his buddies. He is with us, no matter what, and that is what perfect love is.

Turning Grief into Love

Preliminary Reading: Defining Love and Applying Love to Forever

Grief is when you lose something you love. If love is defined as imagining all future realities with someone, grief would be losing something that you never imagined being apart from. Not because you expected your mother to always live for example, but because the positive parts of her will never be there again for you. So something that you had imagine all future realities including, is now gone. You have a void that will never be filled, depending on what you believe.

If you believe in the afterlife, you could hope to see them again. There would be at least one potential realty where you got to see them again. If you believe that they were going to the same afterlife as you, all potential outcomes involved the two of you together again, so grief becomes hope, becomes faith. And if you have faith that you will spend eternity with this person, you can still love them.