Live long enough and if you are wise you will notice the world’s definition of love is out of whack. A church in the UK recently found that out when they displayed a message of love warning people about hell. One person went to the police and complained that it wasn’t a loving message, so the church is being investigated for a hate crime.
To the world, one definition of love is not judging people for not believing like you. Love means you don’t say anything to them if they break moral laws. Of course, they think it’s perfectly fine to contradict themselves in order to judge Christians over the exclusivity of Christ (i.e. Jesus as the only way to heaven) or to judge Christians for calling their favorite sin evil. Since unbelievers have the mind and spirit of the world (and unfortunately so do some who claim Christianity), they can’t comprehend what real love is by the God who created that love and who is the personification of it. Thank God he gave us his word to demonstrate what love is, so here are a few reminders:
5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. 2 John
35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. John 14
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love… John 15
8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Romans 13
If we love God and our neighbor, we also follow the command he gave in Matthew 28:20 to teach all nations to observe all things whatsoever he commanded us. Hmmm. That would include hell, the proper definition of marriage, repentance from sin to receive eternal life, and a whole host of other “uncomfortable” things. Now that’s real love.
What can we say then of the “love” the world is talking about when they criticize us? The Bible calls it “flattery.” Flattery, according to the dictionary, is paying of compliments to win favor; appealing to someone’s vanity; making somebody or something look good [when someone or something really isn’t good] for personal advantage. Here’s what the Bible says about flattery:
5 He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail. Job 17
3 The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: Psalm 12
23 He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue. Proverbs 28
5 A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet. Proverbs 29
I think I’ll take genuine love over flattery any day.