Sunday, June 7, 2009

what is love?

Anytime I hear that phrase, my brain immediately flashes to my college Sunday school teacher, Kondo, asking that question one Sunday morning, and then answering the question before anyone else could say anything: "Baby, don't hurt me, don't hurt me no more." Crazy as it is, that's the way we sometimes view love and relationships (romantic and otherwise)--I'll love you as long as you don't hurt me, but if you do, well, then we're through.

My pastor is currently doing a series on family, and today's sermon was called "A Replacement for Your Love Life," based in Ephesians 4:31-5:5. If you've spent much time in an evangelical church, you've probably heard most everything he said before, but sometimes it's good to have a refresher . . . it certainly was what I needed to hear today!

Real love is very different than self love.
  • It starts with forgiving, rather than getting even.
  • It depends on my will rather than my emotions.
  • This point reminded me of Ken Medema's song "The Greatest Love." Some of the lyrics in the bridge say: "Most feelings change as fast as weather, but love's a matter of the mind and will, a matter of the head and heart."
  • It is an action, rather than a passion.

  • Real love is tenderhearted.
    Bitterness will not only destroy the relationship, but it will eat you from the inside out. Real love does not withhold forgiveness, even though it's painful. Release the debt and forgive!

    Real love is pure and unselfish.
    We are constantly indoctrinated by what we see on TV and hear on the radio--when people fall in love, they fall in bed. But real love is not immoral. It is not a sexual feeling. (At this point, Pastor Mike did a hilarious rendition of The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost that Loving Feeling," which was apparently the most-played song of the 20th century.) Love is not about me--it is about giving to others. Love is active. (In the words of dcTalk, "Love is a verb!")

    Challenge: Am I ready for a new love life?
    Am I ready for the purifying compulsion of a holy passion?
    Am I filling my heart with what I desire to overflow?

    If you're interested in hearing the whole sermon, the podcast should be up in a few days.

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