Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Was it a success? Has love conquered all? Were the Beatles right when they sang out, “All you need is love”? Or can we recognize that the pie-in-the-sky type of love we desire is still a dream? I’m not saying we cannot enjoy loving our spouses, family, and friends. But the all-encompassing love that covers every area of life, the happily-ever-after kind, remains unfulfilled.
Why? If we all want love and peace, why is it that we can never achieve it? Why is it that people are constantly abusing one another, constantly hating one another, constantly killing one another? Even as I write, I’m having a difficult time focusing because all over the news and on social media, I’m flooded with stories and information from the latest school shooting in Florida, a shooting that has taken the lives of 17 people. A school shooting that took place on Valentine’s Day, a day where we celebrate love.
I think the problem is that we are completely ignorant about what true love is. In fact, as a society, we are disconnected from the very source of love. The Apostle John writes, “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) Only a few verses prior, he writes, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God.” (1 John 4:7) Finally, it is in verse 8 that we hear the most familiar of these words “God is love.” You see, if we are not in touch with the One who created love and is Himself love, then we cannot think we will ever truly know what real love is apart from Him.
However, because we are sinful people living in a sin-stained world, we try to find love anywhere but from God. In fact, we take those familiar words “God is love” and we switch them around, “Love is god”. Then naturally, the progression continues: desire is god, lust is god, sex is god, pleasure is god, self is god, anger is god, hatred is god, until we all live our lives thinking we desire love, when in reality we desire to fulfill our individual, sinful cravings.
Last October, the news hit about Harvey Weinstein and all of his sexual abuses. This was followed by an avalanche of actors, directors, producers, and more who have been living their lives in the public eye very differently than they were in private. This news seemed to shock so many. I was not shocked in the least bit. I’ve come to understand that we can profess to believe something or be someone with our mouths, but our hearts reveal who we truly are. Is it any surprise that the same group of people who were praising and honoring Hugh Hefner (who died only a few days before the Weinstein allegations surfaced) as an “icon”, “legendary”, “revolutionary”, and “one of the nicest people I have ever known”, would be closet sexual predators? Where exactly is the disconnect where we think we can indulge in the type of deviant sexual behavior promoted by publications such as Playboy, and yet we can have “true love” and happiness at the same time. I don’t think we understand how our minds and ideas are immensely altered by such material.
The truth is, as a society we often say we want things, but we are not willing to attain them appropriately. We want loving, committed marriages that last a lifetime, but we “can’t control our sexual impulses” so we sleep around with multiple partners, not because we love them, but because it feels good at the time. The same goes with our youth. We can’t expect them to practice abstinence before marriage, right? So let’s provide them with all of the condoms and plan B pills they could ever need. What we don’t realize is that we are destroying the emotional mechanisms that are connected with sex, emotions God intended to create a special bond between husband and wife. We distort sexuality into merely physical pleasure and we end up paying the price for it. Do you see what I mean? “All you need is love.” But what “love” are you talking about?
At the end of the day, the answer is love. But not the type of love we see out in the world. We need the love of God. The type of love that sent Jesus into this world to die for sexually and emotionally lost people such as us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) You’ve probably read that verse at least once in your life, but can you say that you truly believe it? If you want to understand true love, if you desire to have the type of love that is not perverted by this world, the love that we truly do need, then turn from false love and turn to Christ. When you come to Jesus in repentance and faith, then you can say the Beatles were right all along, “All you need is love.” And that love is found in Christ alone.
By Pastor Nick Jones
Maranatha Baptist Church
1320 E. Saguaro Dr. Globe, AZ