Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Opposite of Love

Standard

It would seem so straightforward to say that love and hate are opposites – either you really like something or you really don’t. But there is so much more complexity to it. Easy though it might seem to believe, hate isn’t love’s opposite; selfishness is. And that is oh-so-painful to think about. There are times when I have thought, “Well, that wasn’t really love I was acting in, but it’s not like I was being hateful or nasty. I am not really a mean person.” True, but I am a selfish person. Everybody is selfish; it’s the nature of the flesh. Without God’s overcoming, victorious power, we would have to be resigned to spending our whole lives wrestling with it. But you see, Jesus’ death on the cross won the victory over selfishness. In fact, His death for us was the epitomy of selflessness – the very essence of true love. Selfishness can take so many forms – jealousy, greed, manipulation…..most bad things can be traced back to selfishness, just as most good things can be traced back to love.

Thinking about love and selfishness, I am reminded of a story called “The Lady or the Tiger?” In short, there was a princess who loved a man whom her cruel father believed to be unsuitable for her. The king set out to remedy the situation. He put the man in an arena crowded with spectators and told his daughter to choose one of the arena doors as the man’s “fate.” Behind one door was a ferocious, hungry tiger. Behind the other door was a beautiful lady whom the man would have to marry. This lady loved the man, just as the princess did. Thus, with that choice before the princess, and the man’s life in the balance, the story ends. I read this in my literature book as part of my homework. One of the thought questions I was supposed to answer asked me what I thought the princess would have chosen.

For me, it all comes down to her character (which the story tells little about): was she selfish or was she selfless? Would she allow her selfish jealousy or her love to govern her decision? And that question brought up another equally important question: if she chose to act in selfishness, was her “love” really love? It would make all the difference, and these were questions I could not answer about her. But I can answer it for myself. Each one of us can; and when we find our answers, we each have a choice to make: selfish or selfless?

Advertisements

Love

Standard

God’s love is purifying as fire is to gold, separating the dross from the precious.  There is nothing more amazing than His redeeming love.  The entire Bible is a testament to His love.  Without that love, how could there have been forgiveness and redemption?

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption…” (Colossians 1: 13-14)

Why does He love us with such an overwhelming love?  “But when the kindness and love of God our savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…” (Titus 3:4-5)  Why did He send His only Son to die for us? Why would He keep pulling us out of the mire that we ourselves have created by poor choices and sin?  Why else but amazing love!

A young woman sits alone and abandoned, starving in a dark, dank alleyway.  She is weary, sick, and dirty.  She has sold herself to stay alive, all the while dying from the inside out.  She has no hope; she does not even understand what real love is, for she has never been shown any.  Little does she know that all this time a Prince has been fighting for her – One whom she did not even know.  Suddenly, He is there, standing before her.  He has won the battle with His blood; all she must do is go away with Him.  His radiant splendor makes her feel all the more filthy, but her heart longs to receive what He wants to give her. He offers His hand and with it His heart, His protection, and His cleansing touch.  It will cost her nothing and everything.  “Come now, let us reason together,” He says.  “Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be as red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”  She shrinks back into the shadows, for she knows that to be purified, she must first step into the light and be stripped bare – each flaw and blemish apparent to all.  He is tenderly relentless in His pursuit of her though; she is His desire.  “Come away with me and be my love.  I have called you by name; you are mine.  Forever I will keep you; I will never leave you or forsake you.”  Still she hesitates.  “Who is here to cast stones at you?  Come unto me, for I have redeemed your life,” He calls gently, still offering His hand.  “Though the mountains be shaken, yet my faithful love will stand, reaching to the highest of heights.  It will be my everlasting covenant with you.”  How could you redeem this?  What could possibly be paid to save me?  What could I possibly be worth?” cries the young woman, desperation tingeing her voice.  She is tired of being miserable, alone and forgotten.  Could this be true?  How she wants to believe Him!  “My life, beloved, is what has been paid.  You have always been worth it to me. Come; let me make you mine.”

Hear Him calling you; He will not give up until He has claimed His bride . “Come to me; come, let me make you my own; come and step into a never-ending dream.”  He promises that you will be always loved and never alone, always forgiven and never forgotten.  He promises to shower you with His goodness and to cover you with robes of righteousness.  He sees the hidden depths of your heart, and the knowledge of it is safe in His loving hands.  He will melt you with His love and captivate all of you.  He will make you His immaculate treasure, free of blemish and clothed with light and splendor.  Will you take His hand?

Dig deeper by checking out these verses:  Isaiah 1:18,  43:1,  44:22,  54:10,  5,  5:3;  Jeremiah 31:3;  Lamentations 3:22-24;  Psalms 36:5 & 7,  42:7-8,  57:10;  Hosea 2:19 ; John 8:1-11;  Romans 5:6-8.