I watched a TV show the other day where one of the main characters “fell in love” with a woman who had returned his “love.” The problem is – this woman was married and had a newborn, but the main character of this TV show was being encouraged to pursue the woman. He was being told things like “If she makes you happy, chase after her – nothing is worse than having an opportunity and realizing you missed it.” The woman said that her husband was a ‘good guy’ but she wasn’t happy in the relationship. The worst part is – this TV show made this situation out to be normal. It was written in a way where the audience is supposed to want a relationship to form between the man and the married mother. I’m sure some viewers probably hoped the two would end up together.
The world’s perception of love is truly distorted. To the world, love is self-serving and designed to make the one on the receiving end happy. It’s something that the world tells us to go after no matter the cost, no matter if it is at someone else’s expense, no matter if we sin in the process. As long as we ourselves are ‘happy.’
No, when we think of love – we have to look to God. He is the one who created love and whose very nature is love. He says:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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 13:4-8
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” – 1 John 3:16-18
Love – whether romantic or not – is not about you yourself being happy. Happiness is a side effect of love, and that is great! But love does not equate with happiness. Jesus showed us the fullness of His love when He was willingly beaten, mocked, and nailed to a cross. Scripture says: “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ That is to say, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’” Matthew 27:46
That was the greatest act of love in all of history. Being nailed to a cross certainly didn’t make Jesus happy, but His love wasn’t focused on self. His love was focused on us – He took the punishment we deserve. Love is sacrificing for others. Jesus endured the worst kind of pain for us as an act of love. If we look at Jesus as the source of love, we will clearly see that it is anything but self-serving or self-motivated.
Erin Culleny serves as a Marketing Assistant and Staff Writer. She had served on Summer Staff since 2011, and this past summer had the unique opportunity of co-directing Children’s Ministry with one of her best friends. She is very excited to continue to build relationships with the guests and be very involved in the ministry.