True Love

What is true love? That question has been popping into my spiritual radar screen a lot lately. Why? Because I'm convinced that I, along with the vast majority of American culture (and possibly other cultures as well), have been taught a lie about love. I'm beginning to think that love isn't as warm and fuzzy as I've been conditioned to believe. I had always thought that, if you really loved your friends, you'd try to be nice to them and not make them mad. Telling 'polite lies' or better yet, skirting daintily around tough subjects, was perfectly okay if you could avoid stepping on toes by doing so. Most of my life, I've been able to quote John 3:16 'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.' Aww! What a nice God! I've also known that Jesus loved us enough to die on the cross for us. Aww! Wasn't that kind of Him! However, the thing that never connected in my mind was this: God loved us enough to send His Son to be tortured to death for our sakes. God's love was hard on both Himself and His Son. It wasn't warm and fuzzy. God exercised true love...tough love...when He sent Jesus to earth.

Jesus exercised tough love when He was here on earth, too. When He called the Pharisees 'white-washed tombs' and 'hypocrites', Jesus wasn't exactly being polite or trying to avoid stepping on toes. "Ouch Jesus!" We'd like to say. "Where was the love?" Actually, the love was right there the whole time. Jesus simply loved the Pharisees enough to tell the truth.

I think that tolerance has been wrapped up in pretty paper and sold to society under the brand name of love. Why? Because humans are lazy, and tolerance is much easier to practice than love. I am a normal human, which means that, if given the option, I will usually choose the path of least resistance. If I practice tolerance, then I will get to go quietly on my way while everyone else goes quietly on theirs, and everything will be simply charming. But, if I practice the same love Jesus did, then a lot of people will end up not liking me very much. Being disliked tends to make life rather difficult.

So what is wrong with tolerance? What's the big problem with me going quietly on my way while everyone else goes quietly on theirs? Tolerance, when it's masquerading as love, is destructive. It allows people to continue in harmful attitudes and behaviors. Tolerance doesn't push people to change. Now, I know that I'm not called to be in charge of everyone's lives and souls. I know it isn't my job to make people change. But I do know that it is my job to listen to God and tell His truth. I'm called to follow Jesus' example. I'm called to tell the truth in love, even if it costs me. If I am faithful to do this, 'Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.' Eph. 4: 14-16

Alright then, now I've said my say. But what am I going to do? Am I going to be tolerant, and look the other way, or am I going to decide that I love enough to confront people, tell the truth, and make a stand for what is right?


  1. Blogs should have a "like" option. :) But I completely agree with you. I get a bigger glimpse of His amazing love every day and it humbles me like nothing else does. If we put ourselves aside and just reflected/shared that love, the world would look at Christians so differently.

  2. O, to be able to know and follow the Father's will perfectly, as Jesus did, in every situation. My desire is to hear and obey the voice of my Good Sheperd, so that I might honor Him and share His love. Father, not my will, but thine be done - that this world may know You - is my heartfelt plea.


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