Once again, we are mere days away from Valentine's Day--that time of year when much of our focus is on that "mushy love stuff". There are constant advertisements for diamonds, chocolates, and flowers, all things guaranteed to make a woman swoon. Love is in the air at this time of year.
This year is no different....except for one thing. This year, the talk is not about the romantic holiday we're about to celebrate, but about one particular movie that is premiering in theaters. And it's not a movie one might expect at Valentine's Day.
Sure, there is a love story....of sorts....between the characters. But the selfish, domineering, controlling "love" shown the female lead by the male lead is anything but real love. While it may delight some women, it brings sheer horror to my heart.
Because I know of the most passionate love story that's ever been told. What's more, I'm the recipient of this love.
No, I'm not talking about the love between my husband and me, although that is a beautiful image of this other love, as is the love I have for my four children. It is a love that is patient. A love that is kind. A love that is not proud, nor envious. A love that keeps no record of wrongs, nor does it seek its own way. (Check out 1 Corinthians 13 for the remainder of that description.)
You see, the love depicted in many movies, books, songs, television, etc, like that in 50 Shades of Grey, is a perversion of this other love I've experienced. It is almost always selfish, impatient to have its own way, cruel, boastful, jealous, and tends to keep track of wrongs committed. It is the polar opposite of the love that was first shown to us.
The first love shown to us by God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
God the Father loves us, His creation. He desires a relationship with us. But we were sinful and selfish, choosing our own way because we thought we knew better. Romans 5:8 tells us that "God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." While we were yet sinners. Obstinate in our desire to have our own way. Even still, Jesus left the glory of Heaven and came to earth to die and forever bridge the relationship between God and man. We also know from John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life."
That, my friends, is a passionate love. Especially when we consider the cost of Jesus' sacrifice for us on the cross. Every year on Good Friday, we like to watch The Passion as a visual reminder of Christ's suffering for us. Only the purest, most passionate love would inspire someone to willingly face suffering like that for our sake.
The best part? If you had been the only person ever to sin, He would have done it all for you. You! Take a minute and substitute your name and personal pronouns into the above verses.
"God demonstrates His own love for [Jenny] in this: While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me."
"For God so loved [Jenny] that He gave His only Son, that if I believe in Him, I shall not perish, but have everlasting life."
No one will ever love me the way He does. Not even my husband. This love is what drives me to be a better person. A better mother. A better wife. A better friend. It drives me to write stories that open people's eyes to this love they themselves can have. Most importantly, I am compelled to share this love story with others on the mission field.
And it's why I'm aghast and confused as to the extreme popularity of a love story that is only a perversion of the love I know.
My prayer for you this Valentine's Day is that you will not spend money to witness a perverted love. Instead, I pray you will open your Bible and discover for yourself more about the most passionate love story that's ever been told.
It's found all throughout the Bible, but particularly in the book of John.