Why Love is the Problem

hert

The idea of love truly seems to infect everything it touches.  In the name of love, sexual revolution is both heralded, and denounced.  In the name of love children are aborted and children are saved.  In the name of love, policies are given, and policies changed, marriages are created and unfaithfulness is justified.  How can love that leads to such vastly different conclusions truly be love? Can love truly take the strain of responsibility that we have placed on it, or has the word been mutilated and then stitched back together and reappeared as a verbetically mutated virus?

How can love lead to different conclusions?  At first glance it can seem that love has many different meanings depending on the person.  Whereas it is easy to conclude this, the problem of love is that love is at the core of all of mankind’s worst atrocities (war, rape, oppression, unfaithfulness, etc.)  All of mankind’s bloody history is a tribute to the wrong kind of love, the love of man.

The problem with mankind is not that he does not have love, but that he loves the wrong thing, himself.

Since man loves himself, he then judges his actions on what he loves.  This foundational starting point is why mankind is so wicked.  This is not the say that we all act out in unrestrained, symmetrical wickedness but rather our actions will filter through our preferences and we will show our self-love in preferential ways.

As an example, a serial killer loves himself and so acts in a way that produces the thrill that he enjoys.  His wrong action is motivated by love for himself.  Self-love may be harder to spot in this next illustration but it is just as flagrantly there.  Suppose a missionary feels bad for all the poor children living in India, so he sells all he has and seeks to help the impoverished.  He builds orphanages, hospitals and shelters in order to help the starving children, yet in reality he has loved himself all along and did not want to feel guilty, and used the orphan children as a smokescreen for his disguised selfishness.  At core, a politician who donates his life to helping others may be motivated by the same love for self as a school bully enforcing his insecurities on the playground.  And what is the problem?  Love.

Love cannot be the end all otherwise all manner of evil and grotesqueness is supported by love.  Love cannot run a society because when I love me more than you, even in a democratic society, I will learn that 51% of me can take from the 49% of you.  Love without constraint will ensure slavery (and it did for most of mankind’s existence), promote bigotry, and segregate society faster than any other force. You see, love is not the problem as much as who is the determiner of love.

In order for love to thrive and actually accomplish the beauty inherent in it, it cannot be the mistress of mankind.  Love must find its definition outside of the thing loving or else it will be constrained by the societal dictates of either the majority or the fittest.  Love then is ripped off of her lofty pedestal and drug through the mud unless it is defined by a higher source.

Love must be defined from its source, and therefore God must be the definer of love.  Only then can I love the way that is proper and truly selfless because love then does not start and end with my preference.  The love of God is defined by the person of God.  Love is pure because God is pure.  Pure love therefore must be submitted to the commands of God or else it is prostituted.

The Bible clearly explains this digression of love and actually pegs it as mankind’s problem.  A Jewish Christian writing to the capital city of the Roman Empire, where love was defined as promiscuity and power called out this problem. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God.” (Romans 1:21)  Any action that I do, if not submitted to God’s definition is a result of self-love.  Just like a virus that simulates a cell and destroys it, mankind’s love simulate is destroying itself.

But there is a cure.  The cure is found in that God, the definer of love, chose to die for our anarchous love of self and through His sacrifice made a way that God could show His love toward mankind. The cure is rather simple.  Repentance of our own ways (Acts 2:38) and acceptance of what Christ did (Eph 2:8-9).  Many people do not want to submit themselves to God, because that would mean that they can no longer love themselves.  We love ourselves too much to submit to God’s definitions, and therein lies the problem.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – The Suffering Savior

A Duel of Words

conversation

How much of my conversation is about me? I am not talking about verbal “selfies” where I continually talk about my own abilities or talents, but how often do I talk because I want vindication?

According to the Oxford dictionary conversation as a noun entails, “The informal exchange of ideas by spoken words.” But how often do we smuggle more into our conversations than they are designed to carry? We weigh our conversation semis down with more cargo than a Mexican drug lord and hope that we can get across the border?

An ancient wise man when having a heated debate with his friend comments on this issue of selfish conversation in Job 20:1-3. “Then Zophar the Naamathite answered: 2 ‘Because of my feelings within me. 3 When I hear a reproof that dishonors me, then my understanding prompts me to answer.” Wow, count the personal pronouns there.

     How often do we talk because we want to vent our feelings? There is no better way to make a conversation about me than to make my feelings a basis for talking. A lot of conversations would be clarified if I simply wore a sign saying, “It’s all about me!” I share thoughts that have become personal to me (like my favorite sports team or movie), and then when someone has the nerve to disagree, WHAMO! My feelings are hurt. Our society has somehow made conversation a centerpiece for meaning and personal value, rather than a test tube where we experiment with ideas.

For example: If I were to be talking with you in a normal conversation and said, “That is a ridiculous idea, how could anyone believe the world is flat.” Unless you pulled a Rumpelstiltskin and were asleep for 500 years, you probably would not take any offense. However, if I changed the factors slightly and I said, “That is ridiculous, how could anyone believe in your (clothing brand, girlfriend, political candidate)?” I would imagine there would be a little more personal value inherent in your response. You see, the conversation has gone from an exchange of ideas to an acceptance of person. My reactions get stronger because the stakes are now higher, I am no longer battling for an idea, but for my own worth and value. Being proven right is now a matter of honor, “I challenge you to a duel!”

     How often do we talk because we have been dishonored? These verbal duels are less likely to have a true conversation than a blind man at a mime convention. Because we have been personally dishonored, we cut people off like a NASCAR driver and send them into the rails. Even if we do not verbally shut people down, we have quit listening to them, so that we can better formulate our next offensive move. We are surprised that they had the audacity to share something about themselves, or even worse…. suggest something that we should consider changing. It is in these moments that it is much simpler not to heed Proverbs 15:32, “He that hears reproof gets understanding.”

So how do we change or to get back to the exchange of ideas? Realize feelings are not the basis for truth, and realize that ideas can be dissected but people shouldn’t (unless they are dead and then they don’t really mind).

You will find that the most stubborn, obnoxious, bull-headed people are not those that are the most sure, but the most insecure.

Please leave your comments, it would make me feel good….