A modern tagline today is “Love is Love” and I cringe everytime I hear or see it. Why? Because it is a lie. I do not love pizza the same way I love my children. I do not love my best friend the same way I love my husband. I do not love the smell of beautiful flowers the same way I love painting them. I do not love tasting new foods the same way I love having sex. I do not love my husband the same way I love God. Love does not equal love. Love has a design. God is Love and the designer of love. Any love taken out of the design that He created is corrupted, therefore it is sin.
I believe this is one of the shortcomings of the English language. Our language has limited expanse of the word “love.” In English, there are no distinguished terms when we use the basic term of love. Love is never just love. There is a greater or lesser meaning behind each time you say it. There is a basic love which could be summarized by saying,”I really really enjoy (fill in the blank).” There is no physical attachment to this item. You can live without it. You just really, really enjoy it! However, the amount of words that it would take to basically mean the same as saying “love” is obtuse; so we use “love” to sum it up and move on.
There is a deeper version of love when we have a deeper attachment to that which is a part of us that we are compelled to express. It may be painting, art, music, writing, building, or some form of expression of ourselves. Maybe it’s friends and socializing that gets your heart moving. Photography may be the art form that moves your soul. When we practice things that fall into this area of “love” for us, we feel rejuvenated, elated, and fulfilled. The wording to express this type of “love” would sound like,”My soul comes alive when I (fill in the blank).” Again, that is a lot of words to express when we have the generic word “love” as an acceptable option.
Then we head into a deeper love like family. This kind of love is the kind that has our heart fully attached to it. We cannot fathom living our life without this person. This kind of love is going to be attached to a person, not a thing. We want to support this person, spend time with this person and value this person. The term “love” is very applicable here.
The Greek language has a better explanation of love in separate terms. Agape is an unconditional, sacrificial love like God has for us. Eros is where we get the term “erotic” and it is a sexual, romantic love. Philia is a brotherly love. Philadelphia carries this name as the “City of Brotherly Love.”
God created the design of love. Lacking the language to explain what we mean by the word “love” is an error. Anytime we take love’s design out of context, we will damage us and those around us. If I need to put a screw into the wall, am I going to use a hammer to do so? NO! I am going to use a drill or a screwdriver. Why? Because the screw has a design. I could even narrow it down to whether it is a flat head or Phillips head screw. Could I use a flat head to put in a Phillips head screw? NO! Why? Because a flat head won’t fit the design and vice versa. Could I use a hammer? Sure. I could use a hammer and I would damage the wall and the other components greatly. Love has a design made by God. He designed it to be between a man and a woman so that it can bring about His perfect will for humanity. Anytime we take love’s design out of context, we will damage us and those around us.
God is Love. He is the definer, creator and leader of love. We can only know love honestly when we keep in line with His design. There is no support in the Bible for love taken out of God’s design. In the beginning, God made Eve for Adam. Intimate love is only designed for a man and woman to become one flesh. He designed for men and women to support each other well. I know it feels better for us to live in the space of acceptance that ‘love is love’ and we can do with it as we like. That is palatable. That is easy. It feels safer.
Safety in love was never the intention. Personal satisfaction in love was never the design. Truth in love is the intention. Sacrifice in love is the design. When we look at the way Jesus modeled love for us, it is sacrificial til death. Jesus’ love models God’s design by sacrificing our wants and desires to follow Him. When we corrupt God’s love and His design, we remove Him from the throne and place ourselves there.