Featured in the February, 2011 Issue of the Ashburn Baptist News

One of the most precious words in our language is “love”. It should not be surprising that the Devil has seized it and used it for his purposes. Often talk of love becomes a mask for mischief. Many times just a moment of thought could save us from a mountain of trouble.
A little tyke with his mischief not yet discovered climbs up into his mother’s lap cooing, “Mommy, I love you soooo much”, hoping that his “love talk” will ease the punishment which is sure to follow when his deed gets discovered.

The self-centered 14-year-old daughter who hardly notices that her father lives in the same house is now lavishing him with, “Daddy, you are the best in the world and I love you more than anyone else.” Her father wonders what’s up, but soon finds out that she wants his plastic to buy a very pricy new spring outfit!

Every good mother has warned her girl about the boy who persuasively professes his love for her, only that he may rob her of her virginity. In our fallen world, much of what is labeled “love” is only lust; lust of the physical appetites, lust for money, lust for power, lust for control. But the poison of the pill is invariably coated with the sweet talk about love.

The Lord’s churches have not been exempt from this deceitfulness. The trouble-maker, the malcontent, the divider, usually begins his private or public remarks with, “I want you know how much I love this church and our dear pastor and our good deacons and am thankful for these people who have served God here . . . “, and then proceeds to take the meat off the bones of the elected church leaders and then dismantle their skeletons. We have heard about “tough love”, but this other approach is surely “strange love”.

The heart of real love is otherness. The heart of lust is selfishness. It’s time to go back and read that defining love chapter – I Corinthians 13 – and to carefully study I John, where the theme is love with the very word being mentioned 46 times. Only when you know true love from the Bible are you able to see through false love. Love is never judged by what comes from the lips, for it is not words, but deeds. Real love is not language, but life. Sometimes it takes quite a bit of self-discipline to simply forget what a person has said and watch very carefully what he does.

The true believer loves: he loves God and he loves people. Selfishness gets, but love gives. True love does not leave, does not run, does not vanish. A true believer will lay down his life for those he loves (John 15:13). This love is shown not by words, but by deeds (I John 3:18).