It is February and I am about to have my annual rant about “luv” the illusion that masquerades as true love. No one ever wants to talk about true love– the love that is a choice not an emotion. I get so annoyed in February with all the commercial hype about “luv.”
I started using the word “luv” a few years ago to differentiate it from true love when I heard so many young girls going into an abortion clinic telling me how much “in love” they were with the boyfriend who did not want the baby. In one case I talked to a young man outside a killing place who claimed that he wanted his child but he felt he had to “stand by” his girlfriend who he loved. I asked him is he really loved her, enough to care for her and their child. He said he did but that she wanted an abortion. I told him that this old lady probably knew what his girlfriend really wanted better than he. I explained that when a woman asks a man to support her or “stand by her” ( bad song lyric!) she really was wanting him to commit to “stand by her at the front of a church” and promise before God to provide for, protect and love her for a life time. I told him that is a big commitment but if they both really loved each other, that is what she wanted. He said “Really?—Are you sure?” I responded “Actually I cannot truly know your heart or hers but isn’t she worth a try? – Go ask her to marry you!” He went into the killing mill and came out with her – she was crying happy tears and as they drove off they both gave me “thumbs up.”
“Luv” is a destructive illusion born and sustained by romantic novels, TV shows, and movies. It has little to do with reality and therefore creates an unrealistic expectation within us women. What husband can ever compete with the hero of a romantic novel? He will always look imperfect when compared to an unreal standard. Just as pornography poisons good men, causing them to hold their wives to an unreal physical standard, romantic media can poison women. Both are dangerous and can undermine relations. Men, please guard your eyes from even seemingly “soft” pornography. Ladies, please be careful of the danger of “luv.” I am not saying that romantic stuff is sin—just dangerous if you overindulge. Just like wonderful chocolate candy, it needs to be taken in moderation. Yes, I have been known to enjoy an occasional “chick flic” but I must always remember that this is “luv” not love. We must always be wary and guard our hearts. Fiction is just that—fiction—not true, and therefore not worthy of being a yardstick by which we judge real people. The Bible is a standard that is always true—why not use that to judge? The Bible gives a great definition of love
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.1 Corinthians 13:4-7
The interesting thing about the above description is that it leads us to measure ourselves and strive to develop these traits, rather than measure others. That’s what scripture does– leads us to strive to be more like Christ. It is sad but true that we cannot change others, only ourselves. As we change and become more Christ like, our spouses will change because of that, not because of nagging, or complaining. (I am sorry guys but I’m speaking to the women here because I am one.) Even an unbeliever may change.
… that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife? 1 Corinthians 7: 12b-14, 16
Love has four forms, agape (godly love), phileo (brotherly love) between friends, storge (familial love) between parents & children, husbands & wives, and siblings, and eros, (sexual, romantic love). Eros, in marriage, is not “luv.” Eros, sexual love, designed by God for marriage, does not fade when experienced within the marriage covenant and, in addition, storge love also develops. “Luv” is only lust and will always fade!
Last Fall when I visited Auschwitz I learned of a good example of love. A Polish Priest, Fr. Kolbe was imprisoned in Auschwitz for aiding Jews when there was an escape attempt. The Nazi’s had a way if discouraging this. When one prisoner escaped, ten prisoners were killed even if they did not know of the escape. The prisoners were put into a starvation bunker (windowless, small cell) without food or water until they all died one by one. When one man’s name was called as one of the ten he cried—what will happen to my wife and children? Fr. Kolbe stepped forward and begged the guards to take him instead. The guard accepted and the man lived to tell F. Kolbe’s story. He was the last to die and spent the time waiting for death to pray and minister to the others. When finally died they found his body in a corner of the cell with a beautiful smile on his emaciated face. That is love!
When a poor mother says she is not hungry so her children can have the small amount of food she could afford, that is love! When a father works two or more jobs just to keep his family fed, that is love! When a family chooses life for an unexpected baby, even when it means they will have to give up some “pleasures,” that is love! When a sidewalk counselor goes regularly to the killing place to stand in the heat and cold just to offer hope through Jesus to women, many of which will reject her offer, that is love! When someone cares for their ailing or aged parent or spouse even when it means round-the-clock service, that is love! When two people who have made a covenant before God to be faithful, as long as they both shall live, weather the hard times together, that is love and it is the kind of love that only gets stronger through time—true love!!
I would like to propose that we use Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, to commit to remain pure until marriage, if we are single, and faithful to the marriage covenant, if we are married. Think of it as a Valentines gift to your spouse (or future spouse.) I am sure this will mean more than any Hallmark card you can find!