Defining Love

Photo by apdk — CC BY 2.0

Every now and again I find myself shaking my head in disbelief over some of the things that are done in the name of love. In England, for example, one school district recently banned children from having best friends because of the potential for hurt feelings. With no best friends, the cliquish nature of school could presumably be avoided and no one would feel left out. Of course, this opens up a clandestine market for illegal best friends but serious enough penalties, such as a three-day suspension from school, should be enough to keep all but the most rebellious youngsters from forging too deep of a bond.

Not to be left behind in the world of political correctness, the U.S. certainly has its own issues with attempting to avoid hurt feelings. When my son played Little League baseball, there were seasons in which every player on every team got a trophy simply for participating. That, and all of the pizza, made being a loser feel just a little better.

Jumping back to the other side of the pond, France is currently proposing legislation that will do away with the terms “mother” and “father” in legal correspondence because some same-sex couples are offended by such old-fashioned words. If you think that the idea is somewhat far-fetched, you may want to note that Spain actually did make a similar change back in 2006 for the same reason. Their legal terminology on birth certificates now reads: “Progenitor A” for the father and “Progenitor B” for the mother. This may require rewriting the fifth Commandment to read “Honor Thy Progenitor A and Progenitor B”, but how much work can be involved with reprinting just a few billion Bibles?

Photo by Florian Lindner – CC BY 2.5

Recognizing the value of love is universal. Understanding the nature of love is not. Attempting to fit God’s love into a politically correct mold can be compared to trying to put a 1,200 HP 8.0L Quad Turbocharged Bugatti Veyron Super Sport engine into a tiny Tata Nano. Perhaps if we paint flames on the side….

Original Photo by Karmadude – CC BY-SA 2.0

That the Bible tells us God is love cannot be disputed. Most of us have seen enough John 3:16 signs in football end zones to be able to quote the passage by heart (For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son . . .). But can any of us quote 1 John 3:16?

“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16 (NLT)

Hold on just a minute! This is all a bit extreme. God’s love is about what can be done for ME. Giving up what I want for someone else might make me feel bad, and we all know that anything that makes me feel bad can’t really be love. Such thoughts echo the reality that our society does not have a good or clear definition for what love is, but we can certainly identify what love is not: anything that makes me feel bad.

I don’t want to sound callous, but on this earth every one of us will have to take his or her share of lumps. God knows how many unpleasant feelings I have had forced upon me along the way. And in spite of the major difficulties they created in my life, I have somehow managed to come out a stronger and better person in the end. What has made the difference? Seeking to know and experience the unconditional and sacrificial love of God.

Photo by M93 CC BY-SA 3.0

What makes a person is not avoiding bad feelings or negative circumstances, but rather grasping the true nature of God’s sacrificial love. It is His love, and not the opinions of others, that needs to define who we are. This, my friends, is defining love.  If we allow God’s love rather than all of the bad karma this cold world throws our way to define our lives, we will never be the same.

Now, if you will please excuse me, it is time for me to have dinner with Progenitor B.

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