Tuesday, March 29, 2011

love protects

Found hidden in "the love chapter" (1 Cor 13) is a little phrase of only two words: "love protects." If you're not careful it's easy to read right past it, and miss something of extreme importance. In this age of feel-good love one might in fact do well to spend a little time meditating on that little phrase. It might even give one reason to remember "buyer beware" when he hears the word "love" when protection is not part of its definition. Then, perhaps, when he sees it on the cover of a book like "Love Wins", or on a bumper sticker that says "love makes a family", he will not be so easily fooled.

With this in mind we can ask some questions that will help us hold to a Biblical view of love. This view has almost nothing in common the modern understanding of "love" because the modern view is devoid of truth. When one touts loving the poor, for example, we can ask, "does he also advocate the murder of their children through abortion?", for this is not love, it does not protect. When one speaks of loving the sinner, does he also speak of blessing their harmful behavior? If he does, he does not love, for it does not protect. When one preaches about God, does he preach that all roads lead to Him? If he does he does not love for that does not protect. When one speaks of loving the children, does he also advocate their protection from--as in the schoolhouse--the most loving thing that has ever happened in the history of man: our salvation from God's wrath through Jesus' death on the cross? If he does, he does not love for that does not protect.

In short, love is not always about feeling good, or doing things that make us feel good about ourselves. The truth is, love demands us do things that can make us feel pretty rotten. Often, on the other hand, some things that make us feel good about ourselves today will, in the long run, bring forth pain and suffering. But real love, in the long run, protects.


Z said...

Very thought provoking, Dan, thanks for this.
You're so right about love protecting and the examples you gave of no protection.

If real, protective love was the goal in all hearts, especially Christian hearts, no Christian could go ten minutes with a friend or stranger and not tell them the Good News Gospel, when you think of it. That is protection, no doubt about it......

I have had seriously nasty emails from a unit owner in my condo complex...I'm on the Board.....the whole Board's been taken to task in really very insulting ways and completely unfounded, and you know I'd say so if we had any guilt; I'm not one to run and hide from responsibilities like that.
Well, 12 hours or so after having rec'd the last very nasty email this morning and exploding with anger and hurt and curiosity as to the fiction involved in the email, I knew I had to respond. I wrote about 3 lengthy, venomous rebukes and deleted them all...until I was calm, knew I had to come from LOVE and eat humble pie and write from a place of moving on, saying I was glad others on the Bd had explained her misperceptions, and wishing her well. (ugh!)
It protected the building, I hope...because we need to return to the civility we've always had here..and neighborliness.

It protected her because I wasn't mean, and it protected me because I feel I took the high road and didn't hurt her back and I have no guilt.

Now if I just find the guts to email it :-)

Craig and Heather said...

I agree with Z, Dan. This is a thought-provoking article. True love does protect. Which translation are you using? I can't seem to find any with the precise words "love protects", although I know protective action is implied.

In relation to your topic, the point that "love does not rejoice at wrongdoing (ESV)" really stands out.

It was really eye-opening for me to note that John, in his first epistle, wrote that God is love. In a sense, Paul is writing to the Corinthians about God's nature, not just an abstract "feeling" that he's trying to explain to former pagans.


Joe said...

I Corinthians 13 should be required memory work for every bride and groom before marriage.

Susan said...

Oh that we could live up to I Cor 13 in all it's requirements !!! The more we yield to HIM the more we can but I still fall so far short.

Dan said...

That's true Joe, although I memorized it and am still capable of being a moron on a regular basis.

Susan, I've been thinking a lot about the meaning of love lately, hence posts entitled "Don't tell me that you love me" I and II, living In The Here And Now, and "Calling Sin Sin". I'm convinced now, after much thought, to borrow another song title "we don't know what love is".

Stan said...

Now that's interesting. The NIV says "protects". Every other translation I found says something along the lines of "bears". (KJV - "bears all things".) So I looked up the word. It means, literally, "covers". In fact, the origin is the idea of the roof. Love "roofs over" all things. Kind of turns the idea of "bears all things" around. In that translation, it sounds like "Love can take whatever is dished out and still bear up." But if "roofs over" is in mind, then love will defend the loved one from whatever comes. Kind of like "protects".

Dan said...

Thank you so much Stan. I'd given up on the NIV because they keep changing it. I actually looked it up in my NAS yesterday and was musing over the fact that they, as you point out, said "bears all things". I've just changed computers and don't have my Bible Soft up and running yet to do any further research so I was just kind of mulling it over. Thanks for looking that up for me. In this case it looks like the NIV did the best job of interpreting. But that does make me wonder, as always, why the other scholars chose "bears" to represent "covers".