Does ‘love’ equal ‘good’?

  • Sumo

In Australia, it is beyond argument to say, ‘Love is good.’

If we love, we must be permitted to love to the utmost. Those who place an impediment to love are nothing but mean-spirited misanthropes. It’s easy to create slogans for the modern view of love.

Love must be free.

All love is real love.

Keep your hate away from my love.

[Between drafting this post and publishing it, I saw the perfect T-shirt. It said Do what you love.]

My automatic tendency is to agree with these ideas. After all, it’s none of my business, is it? If that’s ‘your thing’ but not mine, surely we can co-exists peacefully. In other words: Yes, I am an insider to the modern Australian culture.

God’s word breaks through such silly sentiment. Not all love is good. And the major love of many Australians is a deadly poison. There is a love we are to oppose! Such love is a risk in churches. And a danger to the wider community.

Here are some of the warnings:

A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.
(Proverbs 28:20)

Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1 Timothy 6:10)

For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. (James 1:11)

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. … You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence.  (See the whole of James 5:1-7)

So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  (To the church of Laodicea, Revelation 3:16-17)

Loving money is awfully dangerous. It makes for the tragedy of turning away from Jesus with sadness (remember the rich ruler of Mark 10). It makes our eyes blind to needy humans we could help (remember the parable of Lazarus in Luke 16).

Love of money is far from neutral. It switches mastery. Instead of us mastering money to serve others, money masters us to serve self.

‘Love’ equals ‘good’. No!
With this example of money, it’s easy to see that love is not enough explanation for action. Quite the contrary, in fact. Love’s danger is that it can blind us to the wrongs inhabiting our own hearts. Love might lead us – willingly, eagerly – along a path of destruction. The modern cries (and T-shirts!) tell us to freely flow along the river of our passion. With real wisdom, the Bible urges us instead to pause, and practise humble self-awareness.

It’s not Follow your love. Much more it’s Beware your loves.