I’ve been thinking about love. Not so surprising, I guess, considering that yesterday was Valentine’s Day.
It’s not the romantic sentiments of love that I’ve been pondering, but the harder and tougher consequences that result when we mess love up.
Love is summed up by John in his short little books toward the back of the Bible, and by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians. In I John, we learn that God is love and how we manage love in our lives indicates whether or not we even know God. Then, in his weighty instructions to married couples, Paul says that love demands that we place our wants and wishes second to those of the one we love.
Love is not a burning emotion launched into your unsuspecting heart at some random meeting, but is a spiritual decision. Love is much more a commitment than it is a feeling.
Contrary to most popular thinking, love is a lifelong work in progress, not a volcano of emotion that erupts and is then all spent. Modern love theorists would probably argue that with me — as they reach for another shot of Jack, or knock back a couple more pills, or head to their next group meeting.
I’m not knocking professionals who try to help or those who seek their assistance. I’m just pointing out that what our culture calls love comes with a boatload of side affects.
I don’t believe that’s what God intended, but when we mess love up, a mixed-up, convoluted mess will be the result.
If God is love (He is), and if are created in His image and likeness (and we are), then love is at the very core of our lives. For our relationships to work, for our lives to work, we’ve got to get love right.
When we mess love up, everybody hurts. There is no such thing as a painless divorce or easy break-up. Both partners suffer, the kids feel rejected, and extended family feels like they’ve been ripped apart. Friends no longer know who to invite to dinner, school teachers must tread softly with discipline issues, and everybody at church hesitates to speak to you.
When we mess love up, it effects every relationship we have.
When we mess love up, God gets the blame. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Why did God let it all happen? If only God would have – fill in the blank – then I wouldn’t be hurting. We stare at the stars, and in the quiet of the night, curse God for letting such pain and sorrow into our lives.
When we mess love up, it takes us a long time to sort out our wounds and forgive those who caused them. Some folks never get there, living for years with pent up anger and hatred toward those who did them wrong.
But God, the one we blamed and cursed when things went bad, He’s already forgiven us for every thought we harbored and every word we spouted. At Calvary, before we were even born, He took each of our sins and bore them on His cross.
He did that because He is love – and love is not a feeling, but an active commitment. So, Love forgave us in advance for messing up His love and blaming Him for all the pain we caused. And He is the One who will hold you until the hurt subsides and the wounds heal — and when you are ready to try love again, He lets you go. Because He is love.
May we learn to love like God loves. Forgive. Encourage. Share hope. Give.
Cause we sure mess love up when we do it our way.