Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The redefinition of "love"

Thousands of years ago, the Apostle Paul defined love in a letter to a church in Corinth.  On my wedding day, my husband and I used his words to reaffirm to the congregation and to one another what love meant to us:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant, or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  - 1 Corinthians 13:4 - 7
 Love was an action.  Not a feeling.  But that was thousands of years ago.

In the last 100 years or so, we have seen the word "love" drastically transformed from an action and a practice to a feeling.  Fewer than half of couples stay together and most of those couples have had other partners beside their spouse that, at the time, they would have said they were "in love" with.  While I count myself as one of the people that believes in traditional marriage in the eyes of God, as being between one man and one woman, it would be ridiculous to say that heterosexual couples have not been making a mockery of marriage for thousands of years.  While I won't go into my own individual sins here, I will say that I am an adulteress under Christ's definition, and so are you if you're being honest with yourself:
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.'  But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart."  - Matthew 5: 27 - 28
Because I am a Christian, all I can do is confess and try to do better.   What grieves me is not that the traditional definition of marriage has changed, we lost that battle many years ago.  What grieves me is that the traditional definition of love has changed.

Today's definition of "love" is nothing like the Biblical definition of love.  Love is not patient or kind.  Where formerly it didn't boast or wasn't arrogant or rude, today's definition of "love" grabs itself a hashtag on Twitter and screams, "IN YOUR FACE" to anyone who holds an opposing view.  The definition of "love" in today's society is fungible because it is whatever you want it to be and if it isn't, then you make it whatever you want it to be.  If other people don't like it, then just accuse them of "hate" and "bigotry", because today's definition of "love" demands that you fall in line, or else.  Hate still supposedly means the opposite of love, which probably means that hate now stands for what love stood for at the time that Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthians.  Whether "love" rejoices with the truth or with wrongdoing is certainly up for debate because "truth" and "wrongdoing", like "love" in today's society, is up for debate.  If you end up falling out of "love" with your selected partner, not to worry, for a little money you can each go your separate ways.  After all, today's "love" doesn't bear all things, hope all things, believe all things and it sure as hell doesn't endure all things.  In short, today's societal definition of love means nothing more than that you get to bump uglies with whomever you happen to be most attracted to at the time and everyone else better shut the hell up about it or face your wrath.

Truly what makes me sad about all of this is that the odds of my children finding a spouse that loves them in the same way that the Apostle Paul defined love to the Corinthians is about the same as their odds of getting struck by lightning.  The odds of my grandchildren finding that in their marriage is fast approaching the odds of them winning the lottery after they were struck by lightning during a shark attack.
 Or does it?

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