Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What Love Is Not

Is sex love? Is rape love? Is marriage love? Is common law marriage love? Is “gay marriage” love? Is consensual bondage sex love? Is perverted intimacy love? Is a marriage that ends in divorce love? Is a relationship that ends in breakup love? Do I love my dog? Does my dog love me? At first, you might find most of these questions silly. And, they are. But, they are silly because none of these examples are in fact love, while we have distorted the notion of love to rope things into the definition for a fleshly agenda – thus these silly questions are begged. Our society and culture has so perverted the concept that we have no choice but to foolishly consider the silly results.

If asked, the vast majority of people would describe love as a strong, maybe even intense, feeling of affection. My dictionary has 20 definitions of the word, all of which are false. Not one definition for love in the dictionary reads, “God.” This is where the lie begins. To illustrate, all feelings known to man come and go, even within the same day. There are very few feelings that typically last more than a day. I am sure that not a day goes by that my wife does not become frustrated, even angry, with me. Thank God that does not last. If feelings come and go, they are by definition fickle. And, nothing permanent should be based on something fickle. Love is permanent or it is worthless. What worth is a “love” that comes and goes? Does anyone really want such fickle affection gestured towards them even if it is intense? Consider, the more intense the affection, if not permanent, the more damaging to the receiver. Don’t we all want and desire permanent, namely unconditional affection? Of course we do. That is why, whether we openly admit it or not, we all reject fickle affection, sometimes violently. Regardless of how the Hallmark Channel depicts serene breakups, such is fiction. We all want love. But, we all want more than fickle emotion. Very few people, if any, want temporary emotion instead of true love. Thank God, love is not an emotion.

Allow me to address just a few of the false notions of fickly love that results from society’s distortions. The first is sex. Sex, even today, is often referred to as “making love.” This phrase dates as far back to the peace-loving sixties when the phrase “make love not war” was overused. But, is sexual intercourse making love? Absolutely not! If sexual intercourse is love, then all of its perversions listed in the first paragraph are love, including rape. If you read that sentence and start to parse nuances in your mind in rebuttal, you might need some reprogramming on the subject. Even in a God-centered marriage, sexual intercourse is not love. In Godly marriage, it may be beautiful, but it is not love because God is love. And, some married couples never have sexual intercourse, yet love each other as much, if not more than the most sexually active married couples.

You won’t find a single verse in the Bible that says sexual intercourse is love. What sex (an invention of our Maker) actually represents is simply a symbol of marital union. And, it was designed by God for marital enjoyment and procreation. But, it’s most profound purpose is to symbolize marital oneness. Sex is not oneness but just a symbol of it. The intercourse is the two becoming one flesh. But, the physical act is just a symbol of the Godly reality that the two people are now one person or one spirit in God’s eyes – the profound mystery. Therefore, the symbol is a glorious celebration of the unity of two people as one person spiritually. Given that God is Spirit and, therefore, Spirit is the ultimate, what we celebrate in flesh is meant to point to the ultimate reality in spirit. It is the spiritual oneness that is marriage. And, it is a daily adventure and pursuit. The sexuality we enjoy is a blissful reminder in flesh of what we ultimately pursue and can realize in spirit. Sex is not the goal. Spiritual oneness is. And, sex is not even required to have spiritual oneness. In fact, it is optional for the married couple or in any relationship, for that matter. For example, the Bible describes David and Jonathan as being one in spirit (1 Samuel 18:1), yet their relationship was entirely spiritual and void of sexuality. This oneness is what we incessantly seek in marriage, but this is not love, because God is love.

But society and its perversions urge us to see a homosexual couple who define themselves by their sexual choices and call it love. This is where the deception comes to full birth. When we take God’s symbols (sex, marriage, even rainbows) and pervert them for our own flesh devices in opposition to His spirit devices, it is we who are on the wrong side of history, not God. We have bought the lie about what is not love and called it love. We are the foolish ones.

But, you say marriage is love. Once again, you will not find a single verse in the Bible that says marriage is love either. Like sexual intercourse, marriage too is a symbol of love, but not love itself. Marriage is a covenant of man and woman permanently becoming one person in the eyes of God. We do this to point as a symbol of the permanent union between Christ (groom) and the Church (bride) – God and man. But, the earthly symbol is not the ultimate; the heavenly reality is. Therefore, denying certain people to marry is not denying them love. For example, if we deny marriage to adult incestuous couples are we denying them love? David and Jonathan loved each other more than most married couples today. But, they were heterosexual friends who each had wives of their own. Marriage is not necessary to love. In fact, most of the people in my life whom I love dearly, I am not married to.

As far as the symbol of marriage, it is God’s symbol and not ours. How do we know this? The proof is that if you study all eras of history on this subject across  all tribes of people on every continent, they all with few deviant exceptions, honor the institution of marriage (one man plus one women for one lifetime). How can that be if we evolved somewhat separately with different sets of morality and cultures? It is this way because God’s word accurately describes history. The concept of marriage between one man and one woman for one lifetime is universal. So, is the disdain for divorce universal. Such symmetrical universality can only be explained in God.

Lastly, our society fools us into thinking that we can fall in love, like someone accidentally falling into a pit. Again, at its core, this is a fickle analogy. When we fall into a pit, we don’t stay in it. We get out. We don’t fall in love and we don’t fall out of love. Falling out of love means we never chose to love. Because true love is tested by time. 1 Corinthians 13:8 says, “love never ends.” That is expressed again and again throughout the Bible in numerous ways. Therefore, if what we are feeling and/or expressing comes to an end, what we were feeling was not love. Love that is not true, is not love at all. And, true love stands the test of time. That is because love is not a feeling or emotion, it is a decision, an eternal commitment or covenant. It is the most profound decision. An emotion that only lasts for 20 years or less and is unwound, is worthless in comparison to a permanent and unconditional decision. Love is a commitment that says I will love you no matter what you do. Even if you cheat on me and divorce me, I will love you. Why do I know that is love? Because that is what God does for us every day that we cheat on Him, which happens to be every day.

So, sex is not love and marriage is not love. So, what is love? The definition of love is God. And, we only exhibit love when we perfectly mimic Him. 1 John 4:7-21 is a treatise on the fact that God is the definition of love – there is no other definition, period. And, Romans 5:8 describes that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” When we show this same true definition of love towards others, we are loving them, no matter who they are. This also goes for our love towards homosexuals. We don’t condone their “marriages.” And, we love them unconditionally. We pray for them. We wash their feet. We tell them the truth in a manner as Jesus would. We love as Jesus would. But, we never distort the definition of love as that distorts the definition of God. And, we are always devoted to God over man.

Christian, in conclusion, we must live and learn above the distorted and perverted fray of our sin-bent culture. Our definitions must be God’s definitions. We must not allow the culture to define God or define us. Both are the exclusive right of God alone. Be very careful what you call love. After all, is what you call love what you want to receive?

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