What is Love?

Posted: November 9, 2010 in Uncategorized

I had a conversation the other day about love.  The person I was speaking with doesn’t believe in God because she sees too many people claim to have been transformed by a religious experience only to lapse back into their own selfish ways sooner or later.  She also doesn’t believe in relationships because too many people say, “I love you” and then walk away.

I’ll deal with the first objection later but let’s look at the former objection.   Therapists Jack & Judy Balswick argued in their book The Family that our culture’s problem is that we define love as being loved rather than loving.  I think they hit the nail on the head.

The people I counsel dream of someone who will meet their needs, affirm them, sacrifice for them, etc. but they rarely ever dream about affirming someone else or sacrificing for them.  Because they define love as what they get when they no longer feel they are getting they feel like they have fallen out of love and that is then their duty to end the relationship.

But what if love was defined differently? Tim Keller points out that we typically love our children even though they take more than they give. A child can grow up to deal black tar heroin, steal our money from our wallets and run from the police but we will still love them.  Why? Because we define love for a child differently.  We see the inherent value in a child and love it for itself.  That is true love.

Should the church teach that this is the only true definition of love? Especially when it comes to romance? I think we must.

  1. dick says:

    I think this should a required weekly reading assignment for anyone, christian or not. Relationships would be so much more likely to survive. And its this explanation of love that finally made me understand the love that God has for us.

    Well done!

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