Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What's love got to do with it?

Love, without expectation is not love. Love encourages, exhorts, and stands alongside, tells us when we are wrong, yet, also when we are right! (I Cor. 13) When we read the love chapter, as it is called, do we truly take it as serious as it is? I sometimes think not. The divorce rate, even in the body of Christ, is astounding! The divorce rate according to Barna is around 33%. Not much different than those who are not church affiliated. (this survey was taken from 3792 or so people) the average across the board 33% wow!

What has happened in the church? Where are we falling short? One answer may be a misinterpretation of the true meaning of love, or the lack of teaching it in the home and at church! Instead of discouraging divorce, we make excuses for it. Instead of calling it sin, we excuse it away. In the home, instead of taking our responsibility, we spend our time blaming the other person for what may have gone wrong.

In the church, we have stopped calling divorce sin, and have provided special Sunday school classes just to accommodate those who have gone through a divorce. In those classes the sin of divorce is not mentioned. It is just a place where people come together for comfort and support. Instead as a church we need to be training them in love, it's commitment, it's sacrifice, for better or for worse, richer or poorer etc.

I know this does not include all churches, yet a few that I have been in have provided such a class. If we love these folks, if we care, we need to prepare them much better. Instead of a divorced members class, we need to have a I Corinthians 13 class! Before they get married, during, and even if divorce becomes the inevitable! If they are going to have a sound relationship with anyone, they have to have a sound relationship with the one who created love, Jesus Christ!

Why can't the church be different in this area? Lack of true love accountability! When Jesus was confronted by the Pharisee's on this subject of divorce, Matt. 19:1-10, They asked Him why did Moses give this command of divorce, Jesus response was, because of the hardness of their hearts. From the beginning it was not so. Except for sexual immorality there was no reason for divorce!

Some folks may elect to get divorced regardless. But the church should never be part of the excuse process! We can always recommend separation for a time, especially in an abuse situation, but never divorce! On the contrary, we are to assist in reconciliation. The same as restoring one to Christ, we must put our efforts in helping to restore marriages!

We need so desperately to get back to biblical principles, in all relationships, whether dating, pre-marriage, our relationship with God! Love, true love is the key. Love never means all is acceptable, love means it is time to get to work. It is time to grow up in the Lord and stop making excuses why we cannot stay committed!

Love suffers long and is kind, love does not envy, love does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek it's own, is not provoked, seeks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoice in truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, love never fails. (I Cor.13:4-8a) Whats love got to do with it? True love has everything to do with it. God, help us to relearn Your love!
    (The Barna Group of Ventura, California) and website address (www.barna.org).