Did you know that 'nice', according to some older dictionaries, means, 'foolish'? Makes sense, really, with all the nice people out there these days! Look even at the modern definition of a nice person; a nice person today is usually one that doesn't cause trouble, likes everybody, doesn't judge anyone, and more or less is happy with the status quo, 'a nice guy' ( or 'girl' ), one of the sheeple!
There is much verbiage out there that has lost its original meaning, and the blame can only be laid out our own feet ( collectively )! Actually, Christians ( corporately ), I believe, must bear the brunt, because, not have we been influenced overmuch by a puritanical, even pharisaical legalism, we have gone so far as to allow an unbelieving world to define such terms as 'love', and 'truth'!
We've covered this territory numerous times, and it's probably getting kinda annoying by now, but 'love is an action, not a feeling'!
Yes, feelings are nothing to sneeze at, we all have them; it's only natural, God gave them to us! Our feelings are simply one of the senses that enables us to interact with our neighbor ( or not ). There is nothing wrong with feelings, but the Scriptures really say nothing much about them in connection with the act of love! ( okay, The Song of Solomon, et al. may be an exception ) Parts of Paul's sermonette to the Corinthian Church, in I Corinthians 13, seem to connect the two, but even in his terms, the feelings are contrary to ordinary human nature. As Jesus said, 'it is hard to kick against the goads'!
When someone tells you that they 'love you', the natural response is to return in kind ( I'm guilty of this, though I doubt I'm the only one ). Most people will, and do love those that 'love' them, but and I'm not saying that this love based on feelings is not real, but that kind of love is subject to change! When the other person, whether it's simply an acquaintance, or that 'special someone', doesn't 'love you' anymore, it's not only very difficult, but when it's based in feelings, well-nigh impossible to love that person, or persons any longer! It's easy ( believe me, I know ) to have those warm feelings that we call 'love' toward someone that has those same, or similar, warm feelings toward us!
Feelings, as we all know well, can change like the seasons! We may have those warm feelings toward our spouse, or 'significant other' for years, and then all of a sudden, either one or both of those involved doesn't 'love' the other one anymore, and the relationship falls apart! How many marriages, even Christian marriages, have you noted, where the couple lives happily together for years, seemingly anyway, and then, the 'love' just isn't there anymore, and there is a divorce, sometimes fairly amicable, but often with hard feelings left behind?
Again, ‘words have meaning’, but in the truest sense, if they’re not followed by action, they are rendered meaningless! We’ve been here before, as well, but one person can tell the other ‘I love you’ till they’re blue in the face ( I’m sure this happens more than we’d like to admit ), but if we do nothing to prove that love, it is worse than meaningless, it sows the seeds of doubt as to whether they can trust anything else that person says!
‘Whatever shall we do?’, you might ask, ‘wherever shall we go?’ Well, frankly my dear, we DO give a damn!
There is One to Whom we may turn to remedy, not only ‘this modern love’, but the false, pharisaical ‘love’ that has plagued us for thousands of years; that One is Love Himself! Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God embodied that love when He divested Himself of His Glory and took upon Himself human nature, living in inglorious hovels all His Life and finally stripped of even that divesture and cruelly tortured and crucified upon a Roman cross with all His ingloriousness on display for all the world to see!
This is Love, says the apostle John ( 15:13 ) ‘that He lay down His Life for His friends’! This is perhaps, other than the genesis of Creation, and the forming of Covenant with His people, the greatest act of Love ever witnessed!
‘This modern love’, as Matt Nathanson sings, ‘is not enough’; it’s mere words! Scriptural love is not mere words, and it’s not based on feelings! The apostle Paul wrote, ‘husbands, love your wives’ ( Ephesians 5:25 ). He did not give us an ‘out’, whereas if our spouse does not love us anymore, we are within our rights to divorce her, or anything similar. In fact, the reason he gave for this imperative was, ‘just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for Her’!
We, as the Body of Christ, now embody that Love! Sadly, we have not shown that very well to a watching and hurting world; we have spread hatred in the name of Love instead, and have sown the seeds of bigotry, so that now the Body of Christ is seen as a laughing-stock, purveyors of mere thoughts, words, and ideas.
It is only by returning to the One who defines and embodies Love that this world will ever know True and Lasting Love! We must show the world that we are Love, as sons and daughters of the King of Love, not by accepting every belief system out there as equal and true, but in showing Love to every individual creature of God, for we are all His Creation, and we are ALL worthy of His Love!
As His Love,
Charles Haddon Shank