Songwriters love to write about love. Usually it’s romantic and sappy, but oftentimes, it’s bad. Ponder these:
What is love?
Baby, don’t hurt me
Don’t hurt me no more
Or how about: Love is a battlefield or Part-time Lover or You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’, or my funny favorite: Love Stinks.
Good or bad, through highs and lows, we humans never stop obsessing about love. Even after singing “I’ll never fall in love again” with gusto (been there!), what do we do? We actually go out seeking that love. It’s in our DNA.
But love lets us down again. And again. It’s relentless. It is a battlefield. Our “babies” do hurt us more. We do lose the feeling of love.
Why? What is the point? Where is there hope?
i’m reading a book about love right now, and it’s blowing my mind a little bit. It’s defining love in ways i’d never thought of. and i’m not talking about the different kinds of love: eros, agape, or philia. The book is about the human capacity for love, or actually the lack of capacity. Here’s the first quote that made me immediately stop reading and start writing:
Love is not natural.
What? Since when? Isn’t it in our nature? When a baby is born, don’t its parents automatically love it? And isn’t “falling in love” something that just happens to us? Don’t we love our friends, our lives, our stuff? There’s all sorts of love out there that seems perfectly natural. The author boldly states this also: “Love is not possible, at least for long . . .”
Here’s a fuller look from the book Bold Love by psychologist Dr. Dan Allender:
Love may be necessary for survival, but daily existence seems to make love impossible. Love is essential, but it seems maddeningly unreasonable. It is both what we desire and despise, wait for and ignore, work toward and sabotage.
Allender goes on to assert that “love, without divine intervention, is impossible” and that it’s also impossible without forgiveness. He explains that while we want love, strive for love, are built for love, we are broken creatures who will mess up love every time. i know that i can barely go a whole day without doing something wrong in my relationships. The only hope for restoration is God. God has given us the perfect example of love in giving of Himself through Jesus. He demonstrates perfect, unfailing love and forgiveness for us continually, and He can teach us how to love better and be more like Him.
The author explains how God does this for us:
How then does God intervene in the human personality to remove the block of love and destroy the power of evil that hates love? The answer is found in an understanding of God’s relentless, intrusive, incarnate involvement and His patient forebearing forgiveness.
That is the essence of true Christianity. It’s all about the love we all are seeking and desperately trying to stop messing up. That type of love can only come from God, in Christ alone. i’m sure you know enough about Jesus to know that He lived “Love is a Battlefield. “ (When your life ends with you nailed to a cross, you’ve definitely gone through battle, right?) Yet during the 33 human years we have on record, we read how He loved the unlovely, He loved the needy, He loved His friends, He loved His family, He loved His enemies; He loved those who killed Him. He loves all; He forgives all. That’s why He lived His life on earth: to demonstrate His love for us up close and personal. If you “want to know what love is,” look to Jesus to show you.
Let me leave you with Allender’s stated premise of his book:
I will not live with purpose and joy unless I love; I will not be able to love unless I forgive; and I will not forgive unless my hatred is continually melted by the searing truth and grace of the gospel.
Now, that’s what love is all about.