Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hate Is Not the Opposite of Love

One of the key ways of killing fear of man in us (besides getting to Know God more intimately) is to need people less and love people more. (If you've never thought about what fear of man is or how to deal with it, check out When People Are Big and God Is Small to get a giant does of pushback against self-esteem and codependency. To 'need people less and love people more' is one of Ed Welch's key application points in that book.) I love Welch (and all the other CCEF guys) because they get at the heart. Where they sometimes fall a bit short in their book-type resources is in the practical help--what does that look like. What does it mean to really love people more?

I was reading in a book tonight in thinking about some intense marriage counseling situations I'm involved with, and came across something profound that starts moving in the practical direction of how to love others (specifically for men--how to love our wives). 

I have often thought that love is the opposite of hate.  What Lou Priolo says in his book, The Complete Husband, is very probing: "To the extent that love is a noun, 'hate' is a good antithetical construct for it. But to the extent that love is a verb, it's probably more accurate to identify its antonym as selfishness. ... taking is the opposite of giving. Giving ... is at the heart of love. Love is giving. Selfishness is taking. 'Am I a giver or a taker?' That is the question you must ask yourself..."

Friday, September 13, 2013

Why Should I Love My Wife?

There's a blog post going viral on the internet about what real love is. Real love is about “putting someone
else’s needs above your own.” It sounds amazingly good. Christians, Muslims, and Jewish people are going bananas over it.

However, there is a massive flaw in the article: It’s completely void of the gospel and why we are to love in this way. Love truly is “putting someone else’s needs above your own,” but it is doing that for the glory of God and because of the gospel. If we get the motive wrong, we’ll set the whole train in motion in the wrong direction.

A friend of mine recently wisely observed that the man in the article was showing this serving-kind-of-love (an apparently altruistic ethic) to his wife in order to get the emotional feeling he used to get when they first were dating. Her husband then astutely asked, “What is this man going to do when the feelings subside after a while of serving his wife?”

If we look at Ephesians 2:11-18, we see that Christ made reconciliation between God-and-man and man-and-man possible through the blood of His cross. Apart from this good news, we are still “strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” Our feelings/emotions are only the indicators of what is going on in our hearts. We need to love God and others for the glory of God and so that others may see that glory. As John Piper has always noted, our resulting happiness will be greatest when we are doing that.