I just finished watching a movie with my wife. We have very different taste in movies – so when we watch a movie together, it usually ends up being a sloppy rom-com. I get through it.
This particular movie gave me the idea for this topic so I guess it was worthwhile. The movie was about a guy “falling in love” with his lawyer while suing an internet dating site for failure to find love after 1000 dates. I feel so lame just writing that… it comes complete with a courtroom confession of his love for her… imagine an emoji of me rolling my eyes while shaking my head.
I can’t help but watch these movies with a healthy serving of skepticism. The whole premise of these movies is that the cornerstone of a relationship is an idealistic emotional state called, love. I could be wrong here but I think our young people are lapping this stuff up. Oh dear… I’m reminded of that old ad on TV where a couple getting married swapped vows to the effect of, “for as long as it suits me and I feel I like it.”
The biblical idea of love is one of mutual commitment no matter what. Okay, admittedly this sounds a bit sterile and not the best narrative for a rom-com. However, a relationship based on your emotions is rocky at best. A relationship based on a shared commitment gives the security for something deeper to flourish – including the emotional state that can be called love, that comes and goes and comes again. It is for this reason marriage has been a cornerstone of civilisation for thousands of years. A strong family unit, strong kids, strong society. Feelings of love are important. I look at my 3 month old and still feel all gushy – not so when he’s crying, the other two are making a racket, and it’s been a long day at work. But I still love them all though.
This is the idea of love put forward in the biblical narrative. God’s love is not based on a feeling towards humanity. It’s not like He looks at us and has butterflies in His stomach – so to speak. He loves, because He is love. It’s only in this where we can truly understand how God could love someone who isn’t lovely. Someone who has nothing praiseworthy that society desires. God loves us all. We are most secure as a society when we mimic that love. We are most dysfunctional when we don’t.
““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
John 13:34 NIV