Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How do I love thee? Um...

The other day I caught a bit of Dr. Tony Evans on the radio discussing marriage when something he said gave me a bit more texture to the biblical idea of love.

What do you mean when you say "I love cotton candy!" You are saying that it brings you pleasure. The sticky goodness receives nothing from you but oh, the delight it gives you as it rides through your gullet.

"I love the Vikings!" (I can hear your jibes.) But what do I really mean? Will I lay down my life for a sub-mediocre football team? Certainly not. Will they benefit at all from me being a fan?  Nope. I have an affection for them. They please me (a whole lot more when they are winning).

Often when we say we love things, we love because they bring us pleasure. I like this (fill in the blank) because it (tastes good, feels good, looks good, fattens my wallet, relaxes me, etc). Now this might blow your mind, but none of that is wrong. God created the earth and its goodness to be pleasing to the pinnacle of his creation. The problem comes when we equate the pleasure obtained from something to the love demanded from God for something, most especially our wives.

Most men in our culture when saying "I love you" to their wife really mean that she makes them feel good. She's a great partner. She's a great friend. She cooks a mean hash. She warms the bed nicely. All of this focuses upon what she does for me.  I mentioned this in my last post (here), but the vows we took at the altar to love our wives had no proviso in them to love them only as long as they brought us pleasure. This behavior might have been acceptable for barbarian kings of the past, but this is not God's plan for husband and wife.

Love does not depend at all upon the other person. If it did, it would not be love but rather payment for services rendered.

I hope your wife pleases you (it's your choice, really, but that's another post), but next time "I love you" tumbles from your lips, consider your heart. Is it solely for the pleasure she brings to you?  If so, sprinkle in a little bit of the "I love you" that hearkens back to the vows that you made to that beautiful woman by your side.

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