First, this post is not about the Hall and Oates song off their Big Bam Boom album. However, since they’re from Philly and things from Philly rock, I’ll put the video below so you have music to listen to as you read this posting.
I was thinking about a variety of things today that I could write about when I kept coming across the word “love.” It was being used in Facebook posts, blog posts, television commercials for deodorant. The way “love” gets thrown around today you would think that it’s something so common and so wonderful and so perfect that everyone is seeking it.
And that’s when it hit me.
Society has twisted the definition of love to the point
that it’s almost unrecognizable.
Sure, the elements of the true definition are there…an intense feeling of deep affection. In most cases, you can’t say you love something without that intense feeling of deep affection. The world, however, keeps adding to that definition and it’s not always in a good way like adding bacon to pretty much anything.
Let me give you something to ponder.
How many times has someone accused you of not being “loving” or showing “love” because you disagree with the actions someone has taken?
Or a socio/political stance?
Or a group or organization you support?
“If you don’t support gay marriage, you don’t love gay people.”
“If you don’t support the Michael Brown protesters, you don’t love black people.”
“If you don’t think the Bible says men and women are exactly the same in what they’re called to be, you don’t love women.”
“If you don’t support me when I leave my husband for another man, you don’t really love me.”
“If you don’t let me go out with my friends, you don’t really love me.”
“If you don’t tell me it’s OK for me to do what I want to do, you don’t really love me.”
I know…a lot of examples there…but it’s to make this point.
The world has taken the true definition of love and melded it with approval…the action of officially agreeing to something or accepting something as satisfactory.
And if you dare to point out the two are not compatible you better have your cup on because people are going to start aiming for your wedding tackle.
Let’s use the gay marriage example because that’s a current hot button issue that enflames pockets of our society. It doesn’t take long for you to find websites from various psuedo-Christian individuals who say that if you really loved someone who self-identifies as gay, you would never tell them that you believe their choices to engage in things like homosexual sex or same-sex relationships was wrong. It’s not showing “love” to disagree with them. After all, it’s their life, and the only loving thing to do is be nice to them, help them whenever they need it and then shut up about everything else.
That’s not love. That self-centered idolatry being masqueraded as the definition of love. That’s saying “you should give someone all the things Jesus said to give them, but never once mention the sin that Jesus had to die on the cross to cover in the eyes of God.” Essentially, you’re putting yourself in the place of God and negating the sacrifice of Jesus all while the same time claiming you’re reflecting “love.”
As much as some want to refute it, the Bible is crystal clear that marriage is one man and one woman. It’s the only example Jesus uses in his teachings (and during his time there were all the same kinds of couples we see now. Actually, one man with multiple wives was a lot more common back then than it is today.) There’s no way to honestly say you follow Christ and support gay marriage. You may think it’s LOVING…but it’s not truly loving. Loving would be to say “I don’t agree with what you’re choosing to do (i.e. gay marriage, abortion, affair, etc.) but I’m not going to hate you for it.”
And yes, despite what many think, you can disagree with someone
and not condemn them.
It’s an idolatrous position to meld action with person as a way to try and deflect any criticism or correction.
You can apply that same reasoning to any other kind of situation you may face in your daily life when you have to choose the path to show “love.” The path of love would be to tell someone who wants to cheat on their spouse not to do it. The path of love would be to tell that person who is stealing money from their employer not only to stop it but to repay what they have taken. The path of love would be to give groceries to a single mom who can’t feed her kids because she gets drunk AND tell her that there’s a better way to care for her and her children than getting hammered every night. The path of love would be to tell the 400 pound church deacon that he doesn’t need seconds at the potluck because he’s already dealing with high blood pressure and diabetes and you don’t want to see him die earlier than he would if he were healthier.
Let’s face it. If we’re to love others like we love ourselves, then we wouldn’t be showing love if we knowingly let them do something we knew was harmful to them in some way. Just like we wouldn’t drink poison because we knew it would kill us if we did it.
We have to stop accepting the false premise that somehow
love and acceptance of actions are one the same.
We have to stop allowing the world…or even those within the church who claim they follow Jesus…to redefine the word love so it fits where they want to take things within the church which in many cases is to mirror the world that doesn’t follow Jesus and doesn’t want to have anything to do with truly surrendering to Him.
The melding of true love and acceptance of behavior & choices may be the method of modern love today.
But it doesn’t mean it’s the way Jesus calls us to love.