There is one form of “love” that is pushed through the popular culture of movies, books, TV shows and songs. This version of love is built on passions and emotions. It’s built on living in the moment and having no regrets. It’s built on one night stands and dating different people till you find “The One!” whom you may or may not love “’til death do you part”. Our culture starts pushing such thinking on people at a young age, attempting to make us think falling in love over and over again is perfectly normal.
Even in mainstream Christian circles people encourage such thinking. Youth and young adults are encouraged to be in some kind of a relationship in order to be considered normal. We’re encouraged to “fall into” something I call “Fake Love” which is better known as a crush. Dating ensues and break-ups and heartaches follow. Over and over again we ride this crazy unstable ride until we finally commit what’s left of our heart, minds and bodies to someone who has probably been giving away themselves to others also (emotionally if not physically).
Crushes develop when we find a person of the opposite sex attractive in some way and, rather than just thinking they look nice, we start focusing all of our energy on them. We might like the way they look or how they make us feel. Crushes come on easily and to one who has not been taught better, it’s easy to start thinking that the feelings they are feeling are real and they are actually in love. Finding someone attractive is normal and as long as you leave it at that, you’re not sinning. But if you take it to the next level then you are sinning by lusting.
Matthew 5:28, ”But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.,”
Exodus 20:17, ”Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbour’s.
God tells us that He is to be the only God in our life. Crushes can cause immature Christians to sin by putting their focus on someone else, rather than on the Lord thus displacing Him in our affections. God tells us in Proverbs 4: 23 to “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.” When we are crushing on someone we are not keeping our heart with any diligence at all.
I haven’t experienced thinking that I was “in love” but I’ve seen it happen to girls and guys that I know many, many times. It rarely ends well, often with broken hearts and broken friendships and, many times, with the birth of a child to parents relationally, spiritually, financially and emotionally unprepared to be parents. What started out with a crush, ends up with an 18-year investment.
Our young people (and everyone else) needs to know that love is not made up of butterfly emotions, of holding hands, of dreams or of anything popular romantic movies or books tell you it is. Those feelings don’t last, they fade away like a puff of smoke. What popular culture convinces us is love is a figment of imagination, something you dream about but will never be able to grasp in real life. I like what Josh Harris had to say on this subject “The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play, and as we watch, the world says, “This is love.” God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, “This is love.”
What Is True Love?
Some say love is so powerful that it can never be fully explained and understood; I don’t agree with that. I believe that the Bible very clearly shows us what true love is all about. A long time ago a Child was born of a virgin, lived a perfect sinless life as a poor Man. He was looked down upon and talked about and laughed at. He healed the poor and weak, and preached to all those who listened and those who didn’t. He performed unimaginable miracles, and went on to obey His Father by dying a painful death to save His people from a punishment they all deserved. Why? Why would this Man, this King, give up everything for a people that are not worthy? Love. He did it out of love.
John 15:13 , ” Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
But can His example be applied to our lives? Of course it can. You see love is being willing to give up everything for someone else even when you won’t be getting anything in return. Concerning human love between a man and a woman, it means putting someone else’s needs before your own, loving this person more then any other person in this world (though not more than God), being willing to put down your life for this person if need be, it’s honoring and be faithful to this person for the rest of your life (even if you haven’t met him or her yet). Loving someone means sticking by this person’s side even when times are hard and having compassion and mercy towards him or her every day – just like Christ has towards us.
Love as presented in popular culture doesn’t come close to presenting what love really is. They never show love at its full power because, being without Christ, the writers and creators simply don’t understand what love really is. As long as we look to the world to find the answers about love or anything else, we’ll never find it.
The best way we can find “true love” isn’t by thinking about love, looking for love or searching for someone who makes us feel all squishy inside. The wise person prepares to love someone else by loving God first. And in the meantime, we can prepare for loving and being loved by working on being “the one” who knows how to love as Christ Himself loves.