When “I love you” is a mistake

I love you.

It can be such an easy thing to say, we can end up using it only flippantly. Maybe throwing it out during a lull in conversation. Maybe treating it as a farewell akin to goodbye. We think we should love, we’re expected to love, so we say we do. We sometimes skip right over “like” and use “love” just as a means to impress the one we address.

But is love really something that can so easily be thrown around? Is it merely a souvenir of a couples’ time together; a bauble that looks pretty on a ladie’s finger?

Does it really mean anything? Is it the conveyor of our deepest sentiments, or just something to fill up the space in our interactions with others?

Well, if we separate love from God, I think it is exactly what I’ve just described: a cheep trinket used to impress both those who give it and those who get it–and hopefully those who observe from the sidelines!

But shouldn’t there be another name for this kind of thing–something that suits it better than the misconstrued L-term? Maybe the other L-word: lust? Or, Infatuation? Self-interest? Keeping up appearances? Relationship insurance?

I think that last one hits what I’m trying to get at right on the head! (Am I glad I just picked up that telemarketing phone call that was advertizing life-insurance!) How many of us do things, say things, pretend things just to insure that our relationships stay where they are, stay a part of our life? Far too often I think.

The problem with this is not always that it doesn’t work, but in its deceit it insulates us from the other person and establishes the relationship on less than true love and commitment.

Self-love and self-commitment is not love or commitment–at least not what can be considered worthy currency to invest in a relationship. Then it is not a relationship which offers mutual benefits, but a service agreement that subsists on the level of personal pleasure derived from it.

That doesn’t sound a lot like God’s love. That sounds like man (meaning humans) loving for the sake of giving to himself. How do we get away from this? How do we learn to not only acknowledge what real love is, but practice it consistently?

We connect with God, who is love, and then we connect with others so that His love can flow through us and into others. We don’t let our love get in the way. In fact, we move ourselves out of the way, out of the center, and let God be God. Then we give Him our will as a free-will offering, knowing that when God has the will, He has the man. And that man will no longer live for Himself because Christ will live in him and make love full in him.

But I thought it all had to make sense first!

I can’t trust myself to make the choice to follow God simply because doing so makes sense. If I were to define having and operating with good sense as the Bible does, I would have to admit that I am not a legitimate candidate.

I do not live based on good sense, I live based on self-interest–the two may intersect at times, but often they are two very different things. Good sense tells me to wait for a speeding car to pass before I cross the street and I heed its instruction because it agrees with my commitment to protect and care for myself. Contrarily, good sense will appeal for an early bed time that I might restore myself after a long week and I will ignore it.

As much as God’s ways may occasionally appeal to my understanding of logic (quite often it does not), this is not a strong enough motivation to deride my rebellion-bent will. At times I may vote in favor of His ways, but usually only when I see a very strong sow-and-reap theme in effect.

I will not make choices that reflect God’s heart unless I permit Him to bear His heart out within my own. The only way my will can be turned to Him is if  it has been transformed by the love that God gently and persistently pours into me.