My Musings

The Magic 4-Letter L-Word

The Magic 4-Letter L-Word

Remember the Beatles? They made a huge hit in 1967 out of the phrase, “All You Need is Love.” Okay, having a job helps too. In 1981, Crystal Gayle went deeper when she sang, “Too many lovers; Not enough love these days.”

Love is an easy word to spin. A male on the make will say “I love you” at the drop of a dime to have his way. I recently saw a colorful activist with a sign saying: “All love is equal.” I wondered if he had a job. The word “hate” is also useful. Just assault your opponent with the H-word and the conversation is over. If he retreats, you can say, “love wins!”

Jesus understood love. He commanded it and lived it. He knew how to make real love win. He achieved that victory on the cross where He sacrificed Himself on my behalf and yours. Having paid our debt, it is through Jesus that we are forgiven and reconciled to God. That’s love!

Jesus also knew what makes love lose. He preached, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12). He saw the rise of immorality as a threat to love, regardless of how you spin the word.

Ministers willing to change the wedding vow to say, “…as long as you both shall love,” are of the same ilk as ministers willing to say, “I now pronounce you wife and wife,” or “husband, husband and wife.” They are not worth their salt.

In tennis, “love” means you’re probably losing. Popular leaders learn quickly to play tennis with words like “love,” batting it around with little regard for its meaning. When they tickle our ears with “love,” it is game, set, match. Nice racket!

In politics today, “love wins” means marriage lost, at least as an institution that exists to ensure that more children will have a mom and a dad in their home. When marriage was redefined by the Supreme Court to nullify gender, President Obama praised those who worked so hard to accomplish this, claiming that they “made an entire country realize that love is love.” (June 26, 2015).

They did? So, prior to this ruling, we had not realized that love is love? Never mind that the President implied that activists swayed the Supreme Court. All that matters is how it felt when he uttered the magic L-word back to back.

Maybe Oprah had a point when she told us Barack Obama would help us “evolve to a higher plane.” Okay, maybe not.

God’s word teaches that “God is love,” (1 John 4:8). Thus, love is a sacred and transcendent quality, not a self-defining sentiment. The Bible also declares, “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19). Real love begins with God, not Supreme Court decisions. In marriage counseling, I have heard adultery labeled as “love.” It’s a seductive spin that works like a charm on many, but not on God.

So much that is crucial about culture begins with children—how we raise them, teach them, train them, and love them. We owe children a culture that does its level best to make sure they grow up with a mom and a dad together in a loving home. Certainly, kids who don’t experience this design can cope and even thrive as we all work to love them where they are. But God’s intent was for marriage to manifest love between a man and a woman and elevate the mother-father partnership from which children richly benefit. America has officially departed from that design because we have replaced “God is love” with “love is love.”

The title of another hit by the Beatles in 1965 sums up what America needs now:

“HELP!”

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About the Author:

Joel graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A., completing two majors: Art and Religion. He went on to earn the Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.

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