We live in a culture where love is an emotional thing.
I just about died laughing at the look on a friend’s face after I announced, “You’re such a dork- It’s a good thing I love you.” His face registered complete confusion, a bit of joy and a butt-load of hesitation. He didn’t say anything, but his face said it all, “Wait… You feel that way about me?” … No. No. No. Again, for good measure- No.
Thankfully, I’m at a Bible college. All I had to do was stare at him for an extra 3 seconds before he started spurting Scripture. “… Ohhhh. Love your neighbor as yourself. Right, right. Okay. Yeah. Hahaha, yeah. It’s a good thing you love me, Cass. Yup.”
In another conversation, I used the word “love” with the phrase “enough to say no.” As in… “I love you enough to say no.” That didn’t go over as easily. The concept that my love for a friend could be strong enough to be hurtful is just too oxymoron-ish. If I love a person that means I give them what they want, correct? You make me smile, you love me. You knowingly hurt me deeply.. You obviously detest me. It’s simple.
The Greek word for “love” in the Biblical command to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) is agapé. That form of love was once described as “Giving a person what they need the most when they deserve it the least.”
This means, at times, loving someone you truly don’t want to love. It also means there are times when God calls you to do something on another’s behalf (what they need) that they only interpret as hurtful. Love hurts.
Love that is based on an emotional (erotic or “friendly” love- either one) perception is dangerous. Depending only on that type of love is why divorce is the top discussion in a large majority of marriages. You hurt me… You must not like me.. Let’s quit.
Love is allowed to be emotional, and it can be a beautiful thing. But if that’s all love is… It won’t exist very long.
Here’s a thought (that will annoyingly be an open-ended question):
If Love was purely emotional, would Christ – as fully God and fully Man – have actually chosen the Cross and separation from Father God? If love had been optional and based on likability, would Christ see us as worth dying for?