Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is Love Evil?

Love expresses itself in caring for others
Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
(1 Corinthians 1:18)

Have you ever heard anyone come right out and say that love is evil? The sentiment is very common in our sinful world, though few people will be so bold as to say it in such crass terms, even if they believe that love is evil. It is much more common for sinful people to simply redefine love as something selfish or self centered, like an adolescent romantic feeling, rather than honestly describe love as evil. I grew up in a Christian family and I have known the blessings of love and forgiveness since infancy, so it is strange to hear people condemn love.

Love is simple to define, though our sinful world goes to great lengths to pretend that love is such a great mystery that even the great poets and philosophers have a hard time expressing in words what love is. The truth is that those whom the world praises as great poets and philosophers are so wickedly narcissistic that they would stubbornly refuse to acknowledge true love, even if God Himself became a man and endured the punishment of death in order to redeem mankind from all its sin. The so-called “great poets” redefine love in self serving ways, but what they describe is not truly love. Simply put, love means caring more for others than for yourself.

You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.
Sinners do not acknowledge love for what it is because to do so would show our own lovelessness and selfishness. The selfish person seeks his own pleasure and profit above others, so any action which would benefit others more than himself seems to him to cause personal suffering. This is why he sees love as something evil, because it costs him something or makes him suffer. Because God made man in His image we all know that it is a sin against God to love one’s self more than others. That is why so few who believe love is evil will come right out and say it in such stark terms. In my experience the people are most likely to say that they believe love is evil are militant homosexuals and other narcissists who seek to justify their perversions.

The Good Samaritan helped his enemey at great cost to himself
The educated Christian knows that love is a summary of God’s Ten Commandments. How do you do what God commands as good and right? Love. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength, and love your neighbor as you love yourself. How do we do this? “You shall have no other gods… etc.” Love is certainly NOT evil. In fact, true love is the very definition of what is opposite to evil. The Ten Commandments come from God and they define what is good and right and pure and holy in God’s sight. Obeying the Ten Commandments by loving God and loving our neighbor is the exact opposite of evil, even though acting in love toward God and neighbor sometimes may cause us some temporary discomfort. It takes faith to love because as we give to others we must trust that God has given us more than we need and will continue to provide for us as He has promised. The reason we don’t love as we ought is because, in our sin, we don’t trust God as we ought.

The “problem” with love is not with love itself, nor with the Ten Commandments, nor with God. Those who tell you something else are lying. The problem is that we are sinful to the core and are thus condemned by God’s commands and we prefer what is evil over what is good. This is why we have no hope of saving ourselves and must rely on Jesus to redeem us from our wickedness and sin.

This is Love!
Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Though this definition is true for us, Jesus was primarily talking about Himself. We are guilty of sin in God’s sight and cannot save ourselves, much less save anyone else, but Jesus is holy and the sacrifice of His life, in love, for us saves us all from the punishment we deserve for our disobedience.

In our sin we all desire to be like God, but Jesus IS God, yet He “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but … He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6, 8) It was a massive understatement for Jesus to say that He would lay down His life for His friends. The guilt of our sin makes us God’s enemies, not His friends, yet in His love for us God considers us His friends. It was because of God’s love for us that He became a man, obeyed His own law perfectly which we are unwilling and unable to do, and He suffered the punishment of death for our guilt in order to redeem us and forgive us and restore to us eternal life as befits only God’s friends. That is love.

“God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:7-11)

1 comment:

Rev. Paul Wolff said...

Here is a possible example online of someone who believes that love is evil: http://www.peterfunch.dk/d700/_DSC8086.jpg

There may be some other emotional problems going on there, but I think it is a good example.

If you find some better examples then add a comment and tell me about it. I moderate the comments to avoid commercialization and inappropriate behavior, but I welcome your input.