Do you Love Me....?
The Rev. Harald Gruber, Faith Baptist Church — Yesterday was Valentine's Day. Americans spent about $20 billion — yes, with a “B” — on candy, food, clothes, getaways, cards, jewelry and flowers. Even $1.6 million of that was spent on pets. It is my considered opinion that a lot of that was looking for love rather than expressing it.
Over the years, love has been redefined. When I meet with couples who would like to get married, the first question I ask them is, “Why do you want to get married?” Nine times of out ten, the couple look at each other and then, almost as if that is a non-sense question, say, “Because we love each other.”
The meaning of love today is often just an emotional feeling expressed by infatuation and sex. In a book written by Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, and Robby George, they define love in the marriage relationship as it is most often defined today. “It is a vision of marriage, in essence, a loving, emotional bond, one distinguished by its intensity — a bond that needn’t point beyond the partners, in which fidelity is ultimately subject to one’s own desires. In marriage, so understood, partners seek emotional fulfillment, and remain as long as they can find it.”
In the movie “Fiddler on the Roof,” the parents, Tevye and Golde, have a conversation about love when their daughter tells them that she is in love with someone they think inappropriate for her and their family. The point of that singing conversation is Tevye asking Golde if she loves him. They sing about the 25 years they have been married and then come to the conclusion that they love each other. All that they “talk” about is a commitment that has enabled them, together, to come to where they are.
That much better defines what real love is. Love, really expressed in marriage is also defined in the book I mentioned. “It is a vision of marriage as a bodily as well as an emotional and spiritual bond, distinguished thus by its comprehensiveness, which is, like all love, effusive: flowing out into the wide sharing of family life and ahead to lifelong fidelity.”
So what is the point? Love is not what movies, other media, or the redefiners of marriage want us to believe. It is not that emotional bond subject to one’s own desires to receive emotional fulfillment. The Creator of the universe, who “is” love, defines it in what He says, demonstrates, models and helps us see is the real definition of love.
Something that is very familiar to many people, is really the bottom line to me. You see it in a lot of places — John 3:16. I was so illiterate when I went to college that I thought it was the restroom on the third floor. What it really is, is God defining for us what love is. “God so loved ... that He gave ...” What He gave was Himself to and for us, who are defined as His “enemies.” That does not mean we are actively opposing or rebelling against God. It can mean passive indifference, which is common, especially for those who do not believe there is a God.
How love is expressed to you and me, is that we are given mercy and grace. Mercy is not being given what we deserve. Grace is our being given what we do not deserve. Love is a commitment and active expression for the absolute best of someone, no matter what. Very often those who know and understand God well, call it, “Everlasting Love.” It is, and it never changes or diminishes. Even it it never gets anything in return.
Easter is coming up and that expression of God’s love for us is Jesus dying for you and me. Then the resurrection is showing us what will happen when we decide to accept the love of Jesus. How would you define love? Are you willing to find real love from the one who created it and offers it to you without any strings attached? If you have tough time knowing love, try it, you might like it.