Monday, October 24, 2011

Tainted Love

I've written a few times about how I don't think that we in the Church really trust that we're loved by God. I believe this is true and accounts for most of the issues that we have in our dealings with those who aren't Christians (and a lot of people who ARE Christians, but don't believe the same way that we do).

Yesterday in the green room I had a fantastic conversation with our associate pastor about this and I think he may have a key to the unlocking this a bit more.

We talk all the time about God's love. We quote John 3:16, "For God so loved the world..." We know that we're supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves. We even know that we're to love our enemies.

And in the process, we may have devalued the idea of love.

We've thrown around love so much that it doesn't really mean anything to us any more. Loving everyone becomes a duty for us. There's not really joy or pleasure taken in loving someone, it's just another obligation. As a result, we assume that God feels the same way.

One thing you'll often hear Christians say is that we love someone, but we don't like them. If we're honest, the fact is, that just means that we don't love them either. It's just words that we're saying because we're supposed to, not because we mean it.
'facebook like button' photo (c) 2011, Sean MacEntee - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
My pastor's suggestion is brilliant - we start to talk about God liking us.

You tell someone who's a Christian that God loves them, and it's all, "Yeah, I already know that." But you tell them that God likes them? And it has a different connotation.

When I think about people that I like, it's a whole different dynamic. I want to spend time with them. I want to know their thoughts about subjects, even if we disagree. I want to hear their stories. I will believe the best about them no matter what. Like implies a choice.

I think people outside of the Christian culture get that love should imply a deeper, more profound attachment. Which is why I think the idea of love being applied across the board is difficult to grasp for many outside of the faith.

After talking to my pastor yesterday, I think it can be difficult to grasp inside of the faith as well.

So Christian readers, today I want you to know that God likes you. Personally. Without obligation.

He likes you.

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Does hearing that someone likes you bring about a different response to you as well? Do you think that we have misused the word love and therefore cheapened it? What are the differences that you see between "like" and "love"?

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Alise - "Love as duty" really sucks!! I don't want anyone to do the right thing by me out of duty! I want to be fondly regarded, enjoyed, delighted in... which sounds SO much more like Jesus to me!!

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