Love? Really? (2)

This is the second in a series of posts concerning love.  The first may be found here.

I don’t know what I expected after posting yesterday.  On one hand, I expected to hear from those who define love as accepting whomever and whatever.  After all, some equate love with enabling.  I realize they wouldn’t say that out loud.  But it’s true.  To love – in their mind – means to accept all things/people.  Tough love would never be considered, because with human ears, it sounds harsh.

On the other hand is covenant love.  The operative word is covenant.  Covenant means more than a promise.  It entails responsibility.  Let me say it this way: covenant love means that I put my wants/desires (read selfishness) aside for the other person.  Over and over again in Scripture, we read of God’s covenant love for His people.  Jesus gives up divinity to show this kind of love (Phil 2).  He knew His mission was to offer His life for all people.  When restoring Peter, Jesus says Peter’s responsibility is to love the sheep with a love that is despite how they act.  It’s what we call agape love.

Perhaps the best example is marriage.  When two people enter into a marriage agreement, if covenant love isn’t understood, chances are the marriage will be another failed statistic.  It really means something to say, “I’ll love you for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, until death do us part.”  In other words, it doesn’t matter what you do,  I CHOOSE TO LOVE.  I take my responsibility seriously.  All too often, though, people stand before a judge and say they’ve grown apart, have irreconcilable differences, etc.  Truth is, they don’t understand covenant love.  Put two selfish people in close proximity and watch what happens!  It’s too easy in our world to give up and quit on your relationship, your responsibilities, or your character.  Of course there are other relationships other than marriage that should include this kind of love.

One more thought: Not every relationship should include covenant love.  There are relationships in life that don’t move beyond casual acquaintances.  Tim Keller calls these consumer relationships.  This might include your butcher, the florist, etc.  You have a relationship with them, but it’s never going to move to covenant love.  There’s limited investment.

It’s the covenant love that I think we mis-define, fail to understand, or take for granted.  After all, responsibility takes an effort.

One Response to “Love? Really? (2)”

  1. Yes I agree! Covenant love requires relational responsibility. We are blessed to worship a God who is perfect! And also blessed that his word and the holy spirit can keep us on the right path! Holding someone you love accountable, and accepting accountability is part of love. It helps to know who you are in Christ to realize and accept the importance of this. I constantly need guidance here on this earth and in my own flesh. Even though I am not always so graceful about hearing the truth, I know that when Doug tells me something I dont want to hear, something that I have not realized, or something that I am holding onto; I pray about it, and often times I find he was on the right track. Most of the time I can tell when he is telling me something out of love (covenant love) or not. I am also blessed to have a husband who is not afraid to remind me of my strengths and to compliment me. We have been married 26 years, had many hurdles,and still continue to grow closer to each every day, in good times and bad. Yes, responsibility takes effort!

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