Voddie Baucham has a great chapter entitled “Learn to Love” in Family Driven Faith. In it he explores the differences between sexual love, aka the Cupid syndrome, and true Christian love which can span any and all relationships.
One of the most helpful thoughts he communicates is related to being a father:
“Like most men, I went through a difficult season when my daughter began to walk into womanhood. how do I express love to this young woman if I believe that love is a sensual force? Is it best for me to stop hugging my daughter?…I had to learn how to be appropriate with my daughter without ceasing to be affectionate. The first step was to get over the Greco-Roman myth of romantic love. I had to view love biblically if I was going to be able to translate it from one relationship to another.” (pg. 55-56)
I love this thought, for it starts to get at some of the prevalent myths in our society regarding love, relationships and how to make them work. In our world, we believe a number of myths about love. Baucham identifies 4:
1. Love is a random force, i.e. “We don’t choose who we fall in love with.”
2. Love is an overwhelming force, i.e. the romantic novel with the advancer saying “This is bigger than the two of us.”
3. Love is an uncontrollable force, i.e. “We just fell out of love.”
4. Love is a sensual force, i.e. sex is the goal of love
If this is love, and I have heard many believers say such things, then love is untranslatable to our friends, our family members and most importantly, one can’t love their enemy. But this is not so, we are called to love God and love our neighbors. In fact, John tells us that “by your love all men will know you are my disciples (Jn 13:35).” And this requires a love that is not erotic, it requires a love that is an act of our will, accompanied by an emotion and leading to an action on behalf of the one who is loved. Love is a choice. It has always been a choice and when we choose to love, then emotions follow sometimes and fade at other times, but the lack of Cupid’s arrow is no excuse for failing to love anyone. We are called to love like our Lord, who loved even his enemies and prayed even for those who crucified him.
This biblical model is transferable to all people and all times. You can choose to love anyone, just like you can choose to hate anyone. I hope you will think about what love myths you have believed and repent of those. Then ask God to change your ideas of love so they match his idea of Love, a Love that chose to die for your sins and mine. That is a choice which led to action. To God be the glory.