Australia has a strange problem.
On one channel you find instant marriages being paraded around, a group of “hot, young, singles” being paraded around an island and every weird combo in between.
And good amount of us watch in either hidden shame or outrageous glee as these people get together attempting to “find the one” as conflict and hijinks ensue.
The meaning of love
Perhaps the least facetious of these shows is the Bachelor. A few weeks ago, the new Bachelor for 2021 was announced, an airline pilot looking for love. As always there will multiple women competing to make sure they get to spend time with him hoping, to be the last woman standing.
I’ll be the first to admit these shows are admittedly fun as they are ridiculous, but how is this the search for love?
Maybe the Disney model can help us understand. That chance moment where you crossed paths and just ‘knowing’ that person is “the one”. A smile from across the room, a furtive glance here and there and as the music swells, you’re dancing, laughing, congratulations! Now you’re married.
This must be what love is.
But it’s is also word we use when talking about food, sunsets, movies, friends and how much we’d like a nap.
The fact that love, a word we use to characterise an omniscient, all-good God can be used in the same sentence as the “quest” of a man to find a girlfriend just doesn’t make sense to me.
So what is the difference?
The Gospel as the defining centre of love
For by grace, you have been saved through faith. And this is it is the gift of God — Ephesians chapter 2, verses 8
This is something we need to be reminded of daily. That love is an act of will that is joyful and selfless, purposeful in seeing good done to others. It is a gift given to us that is undeserved and it is an example of how we are to treat others.
While we can elevate romantic intimacy to place that we think fulfills us; gospel love provides a stark contrast
· Worldly love seeks return. While gospel love gives completely without fear, because every other need has already been met (James chapter 1, verses 17)
· One says “what can I gain” while the other only considers “what can I give” (1 John chapter 3, verses 16).
The gospel teaches that we are known and intimately loved by an infinite and good God. This shows us the measure of our value is never dependent people or objects.
Jesus was constantly calling people to seek God first (Matt 6:33), and find rest in him. God is loving (Rom chapter 5, verse 8), just (Psa chapter 37, verses 27–29), wise (Job chapter 36, verses 5), all-knowing (Isa chapter 40, verses 28) and so much more. When we find rest and hope in him, not only can we love others more but they no longer need them to fulfill us.
When we love like this something greater and transcendent is at work.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John chapter 13, verses35]
Justin Sayson is a freelance journalist living on the Sunshine Coast. From about sport, music, faith or anything else, he’s always keen to discover more about the world around him. You can see more if his writing on justinsayson.com