If there was room, the headline of this article would read, “Love, Sex, Romance, and Other Things Sin Has Corrupted.” Why? Well, here we are once again in the month of February, the month we usually set aside for reflecting on love and being in love; however, amid all of the media turmoil and news of sexual abuse scandals, I wonder if Valentine’s Day will be approached differently by the “talking heads” and “who’s who” of pop culture.
Valentine’s Day was always something I enjoyed as a kid. Getting a box of cards to give out to each of my classmates with little heart candies tied to them was a fun and memorable time. I even put a little more effort into finding just the right card to give to that special girl I was too nervous to talk to. This was serious matter. “Be My Valentine” or maybe that is too direct? Perhaps, “I’m Yours”: subtle enough and yet still makes the point. Like I said, serious matters.
In all earnestness, how does our culture approach this day? I ask this question because for the most part we tend to get our ideas of love, relationships, romance, and even sex from movies, television, and music. We are formed by media more than we realize. So when “love” is modeled for us in a thrilling love story on the silver screen, that is what we come to expect in our personal lives. If it works that way for those characters, why not me? And now, we throw in the mess that is so prominent in the news of more and more celebrities being accused of sexual assault in one form or another. The very people we put so much stock in as we watch them live out fantastical lives in the movies and television, these people who seemingly have all the money and success that most of us will never achieve, these are the mighty ones who are dropping like flies from the grace of public opinion. Are we lost without them? How can we navigate the world of love without our “guides”?
Over the next few weeks I want to discuss the idea of love, how the world sees love and how love is portrayed and taught in the Bible. This is an important matter, not only because it deals with real people and real emotions, but also because the way we view love and relationship is passed on to our children, grandchildren, and so on. What do we want for them? Consider, what we are teaching young boys about relationships and how to treat women? What are we teaching them about sex and its proper place? Or how about young women? How are we preparing them to go off into this world where it is reported that 1 in 4 girls will be sexual abused before they turn 18 years old? As a father of two young girls this is a very frightening thought! Yet this is the world we live in, and we must prepare our children for it.
I think one of the huge issues we have is not only have we muddied our thoughts on love from the cinema, but also many people have not seen love rightly displayed in their own home lives. The sad reality for me growing up is that it was a rare occurrence for a friend to have both of his biological parents living at home in a loving and healthy relationship. Perhaps, even sadder is the fact that none of us questioned it. This was our reality, this was what we had come to learn and expect as the norm. We don’t live in the world of “Leave it to Beaver”; if your relationship isn’t working or if you “fall” out of love, then move on and try again… at least that’s what we had come to understand. So is it any surprise that the same mentality continues, that we look at love and marriage as disposable things that can be done away with the moment we are no longer interested? Don’t get me wrong, there are instances of abuse where a woman should leave her husband for her safety and the safety of her children. However, what I am pointing out is the utter disdain that our culture has adopted towards lifelong, committed marriages.
How should we view love and relationships? Jesus says this, “‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6) In a nutshell, marriage is one man and one woman together for life. God has given love, romance, marriage, and yes, even sex, to mankind as good gifts that we should honor and cherish. Let us, therefore, look at love in light of who God is and what He says. Then I think we will see love’s true beauty and purpose and we will not get lost in the corrupted “love” of this fallen world.
By Pastor Nick Jones
Maranatha Baptist Church
1320 E. Saguaro Dr. Globe, AZ