Monday, February 10, 2014

Love Will Always Surprise Us

I know the topic of love is such a common one, but I think it’s common because it’s so immensely powerful. The reason so many of us talk and sing about it is because of it’s ability to make us risk life. Surely, to say anything about the topic is begging it to be drowned out by the rest of what has already been said about it. 

But perhaps that is the problem after all.

The problem with love is that it has become severely hackneyed. The constant reminders of its effects and power by those around us, by those singing the love songs and by those in spheres of influence have turned the most powerful, collective human force into a cliche. Worse yet, the banality, or cliche, of love has made all its lesser forms appear to be all that love has to offer.

And yet, love still finds ways to weed out our stagnant attitudes of resignation; it always finds new ways to call us to risk living life. 

Personally, love surprised me when I sat staring at my newborn son. I could not shake the sense that a new force had now merged into my personal story when we locked eyes. No amount of parenting classes, no amount of time, no amount of counsel from the experienced can prepare a man to look upon his first child. As I stared into his searching eyes, my mind failed to grasp the source of his power, which imprisoned me in a hopeless spiral of emotion. He entrapped me just as a finite mind is entrapped when contemplating eternity. Love was at work and no amount of assertions to the contrary could make me disbelieve it.

Love tends to jump out at us when we least expect it, and for those who think that love has passed them by, it’s wise to remember that love is not weak enough to avoid us. We must trust love to find us and do its work with us. Like God, who covertly sneaks around looking for ways to rouse us to risk life and trust people with our hearts, love covertly implements its tactics against the lonely and downhearted. 

Despite living in a world where the constant drumming of love has made the term hackneyed, I believe that love is still more powerful than the most disarming of numbing spells. True love always finds a loophole in this world of overuse--and misuse--of love.  

Speaking of True Love...

The Apostle John tells us plainly that “God is love” (1 John 4:8b). If God is love, then anything pertaining to genuine love ventures into his territory. The statement is loaded with simplicity that tempts us to underestimate its potency, but we must not mistake simplicity for deficiency. It is simple because it says all it can say; God encompasses all that love is. What more is there to say? Knowing more of God is to know more of love. 

Dabbling with love is sure to incite God’s love, which is risky. It is the most serious risk anyone can make because God is never unwilling to do what is necessary. God will always seek to craft us into better human beings, which will require pain. Yet to live in a risk-filled life of love is exactly what we all crave. Further, God is the one who implanted the desire of a love-filled life within us. Despite what the inner voices say, it is good to desire love. 

We are thus faced with a question: dabble with God’s love and experience the most risk-filled life with him, or strive to live without love and experience a mundane existence, trying to catch a smile occasionally. The choice begs our response daily.

Although the world attempts to dilute its power and misinterpret it, love is able to stare the world in the face and smile because God is its definition, and the world is no match for God. People will overuse the term and misuse its power, but God never will. We are at war, but God is still in control. God is still love and true love is still controlled by God. In that fact we have comfort. Love will find us and surprise us.

The power of love is that it will always be love, regardless of how far we may drift away from it. Despite it being hackneyed, love still exists in a world that has never been more needful of its resolute definition.


  1. Alex, I've never been a Christian nor ever will be so if my thoughts offend delete me now. In a book called "Plant Spirit Medicine" the author visited a Shamen, in the dry Mexican lands, and noted that all that all the songs sung were about water. He asked why?
    The Shamen said "We sing about water because we don't have much. Why are all your songs about love!"
    I'm afraid I don't find ,many Christians who really love, they talk about it and talking about it makes them feel better. Do churches keep their doors open all through the night out of love, no they lock them to protect their treasures from thieves. Does the Pope love children. Why are child molesting priests simply moved on. If God the Father saves people in disasters why does he kill others?
    The only part of Christianity I can go with is "God is LOVE" that's all not some supernatural man figure looking down. Just Love. The problem as you rightly say, is that the word Love is banded around too easily. In my opinion if we stressed the word "Love" more and the word "God" less we'd be better off.

  2. Don't worry about sharing your thoughts, coyote, I won't delete them.

    I think the Gospel writer John (and other Bible writers) chose the term, "love" because it is the easiest thing we can latch onto and describe God with. And that's why I chose to write this post too. I wanted to stress love because that is more tangible than the term "God." Also, even though the term "love" has been diluted by society, it still does a better job at describing what God is to Christians than the term, "God"--ironically.

    Plus, Christians talking about love is another reason why I wanted to write this. I don't want to see Christians fail to love like they are supposed to, and I wanted to remind everyone that God is the true source of love.

    Christians are people just like anyone, and we cannot live like the God we worship without help. We fail. And as I've written in other posts, failure to live like God is no reason for Christians to denounce their legitimacy.

    The whole point of Christianity is our necessity for God.

    And so when it comes to Christians who molest children, it saddens me but it doesn't surprise me. Humans are evil. Christians can call themselves Christians but that doesn't make them Christians. What makes us Christians is an honest assessment of ourselves and a willingness to admit our mistakes/failures and learn from them. To cease from sin is a growing phenomenon, and failures are bound to happen.

    If God, why evil? Christians believe that all evil in the world is humanity's fault. Due to it being humanity's fault, everyone who makes up humanity will be judged by God, including Christians. The reason there is still evil is because in order to get rid of evil, God must judge everyone. Once he judges, there is no going back, and so thats why he hasn't judged yet--he wants people to turn from doing evil. He expects us to turn from evil, and he has given us no excuse to not do evil because he has given us the ability to what is right (i.e., to LOVE) in Jesus, and so to say all evil is God's fault is incorrect.

    I cannot speak for every Christian, nor God himself. What I can do is honestly assess myself and learn to become a better person and love people more.

    I look forward to hearing from you again. I appreciate honest dialogue.