The Forgotten Definition of Love

Oh how this world is filled with love. You’ve seen the hashtags, one of the most popular being #lovewins. People have so many arguments for letting love trump hate and all of that jazz. And, in some ways, yes, reaching out to people with love is the correct way to do things. But, somehow, this world has translated “love” to mean “tolerance,” “acceptance,” “inclusivity for all things.” Now hatred, hypocrisy, and self-righteousness have no place in my book either. Absolutely not. But, we are humans, and that comes out of all of us in one way or the other naturally. That’s human nature.

I think we’re all missing the point. “Love” is a completely separate concept than tolerance and inclusivity. In fact, “correction” is a form of love. You can’t have one part of love without the other. Believe it or not, reaching out to people to lovingly re-direct them in a more productive way is a form of love. Parents do this all the time for their kids. We obviously don’t expect a three-year-old to understand the ways of the adult world. You don’t see someone you love falling to alcoholism and let them drink themselves to death because you “love them” and accept whatever their behavior is. You do whatever you can to help them out of that situation, try and get them to see the error of their ways, and hopefully be a support to them because you love them. If someone you love is in a relationship with a horrible person, you sit down and talk with them to help them see that they’re going in a wrong direction because you don’t want to see them get hurt along the way. You love them. Your friend who is doing heroin? You don’t accept the behavior and just watch them go downhill because you love them. You intervene. See what I’m getting at?

God is love. Yes, absolutely. That is what Jesus stands for. He loves everyone, as we should strive to love everyone. And, Jesus understands that we are all sinners. Sin is sin in God’s eyes. One sin is not greater than the other; humans are the ones who have made that kind of distinction. But, what some take as restrictive rules and limits are actually things Jesus says out of love. He wants to protect us from the misery certain sins bring.

both

I’ll come right out and name some of the things the Bible says are sins: homosexuality, abortion, idolatry, divorce (based on Scripture, depending on the circumstances). If you read Romans 1:26-27, it says that those who engaged in immoral activity “received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Now, we don’t exactly know what came of those behaviors in those individuals, but if you read on, there is a good description of what becomes of those who don’t follow God’s laws. Have you ever thought, instead of Jesus trying to impose rules on you, He’s trying to save you from yourself because He loves you?

God said to Jeremiah in the Bible: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” -Jeremiah 1:5

If God said that to one, and He loves everyone, don’t you think He also knew you? Our human nature, sinful desires, and culture are moving away from God, and look at what is happening. Divorce is not fun, but acceptable. That leads to broken homes, broken kids, and acts of aggression. Having sex before marriage is fun and expected. That leads to emotional problems, insecurity, disease, unplanned pregnancy, abortion. The bottom line is that God loves you too much to let you engage in things that will only hurt you in the end.

This is what I think of about loving people: you meet them where they’re at. There shouldn’t be any judgments or self-righteousness because we are all imperfect and we all sin. And, we all have different struggles in life. But you don’t leave it there! You love them through whatever struggle they are going through, but you re-direct them away from the sin that’s only going to hurt them later. Satan has a way of making sin look like the good guy. He makes it look inviting, easy, and natural. Please, guard your hearts. This world has so many things that are against God, but He’s only trying to protect you from the misery we bring upon ourselves when we think we know better.

 

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

-1 Peter 5:8-9

 

“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

-1 Corinthians 6:9-11

 

Loving correction is a form of love. Correction doesn’t have to involve hatred, even though it’s sometimes associated with that. If you read the Bible, God’s love does not involve tolerance and acceptance of sin. This shouldn’t be a surprise, but humans will never be as good as Jesus as loving someone fully, but correcting them when necessary. Nobody likes to be told that they’re wrong. But, you can’t argue one definition of love without having the other, not if you truly believe in the Bible. Loving God involves a heart change. That heart change often opens your eyes to the destruction that sin brings. Thanks for tuning in.

 

“Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise.” -Proverbs 15:12

“God is mighty, but despises no one; he is mighty, and firm in his purpose…But if people are bound in chains, held fast by cords of affliction, he tells them what they have done – that they have sinned arrogantly. He makes them listen to correction and commands them to repent of their evil. If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment. But if they do not listen, they will perish by the sword and die without knowledge.”

– Job 26:5-12

“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.”

-James 1:13-15

“Borthers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.”

-Galatians 6:1-3

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