So, in a previous post, I began “Tackling the Love Problem.” Then I wrote about “The incredible primacy of love… It’s more important than we think.” Next, I said that “We have everything we need to love others.” Finally, I wrote that “Love is easily recognized as love.”
What is the “love problem”? It’s quite simple actually. Jesus said all people would know us by our love. But, when you ask people what they think about Christians, love is far, far down the list… if it even makes the list. We have a love problem.
Now, let’s be honest with ourselves and with one another. We don’t love because we’re disobedient to the Spirit. It really is that plain and simple. The Spirit indwells all of God’s children. The Spirit produces love within us and leads us to love others. But, we don’t do it because we choose not to yield to the Spirit and instead yield to our own desires. (This is described many ways in Scripture, such as presenting ourselves as slaves to sin even though we have already been set free from slavery to sin – Romans 6.)
But, disobedience is not the “love problem.”
Here’s the thing. We should expect new, immature believers to have a harder time love than older, more mature believers. We should see an increase in love as people mature in Christ. Thus, even though many Christians would struggle with love, we should still see a general tendency toward loving others among the church… and that tendency should increase.
That’s not what we see… and while we may want to make excuses, it’s certainly not what the world sees. And, remember, Jesus said “they” would know us by our love.
The “love problem” is a result of lack of maturity in Christ. I think this lack of maturity affects our love (and our demonstration of love) primarily because love cannot be taught through speeches, sermons, books, articles, seminars, conferences, and, yes, even blog posts. As awesome as blog posts are, you will never learn how to love someone by reading one of my incredible posts. You will never be challenged to show love to that difficult neighbor (who you’d rather ignore or perhaps curse) by reading my eloquent prose.
For that kind of “teaching,” we need life on life interaction… the kind of discipleship that we find in Scripture… where (as Paul said) followers of Jesus shared not only the good news but their very lives.
No, we’ll never learn to love by listening to a sermon or reading a book, but we will learn to love to observing the life of a brother or sister in Christ as they learn to love. We will learn to love by being helped to show love to a difficult neighbor by another follower of Christ who has “been there.”
This is why the church has a “love problem.” It’s tied back to our relationships (or lack of relationships) and fellowship (or lack of fellowship) and overemphasis on information transfer.
Because, while the church as a whole can probably tell you the different Greek terms for “love,” and exegete various passages on “love,” and quote several verses about “love”… how many actually know one another well enough to help each other love?
It’s messy work.
The way we typically do things now is much more efficient and “excellent.” But, it’s also producing a “love problem.”
So, what do we do now? What do you do now?
Series on the “Love Problem”
- Tackling the Love Problem
- The incredible primacy of love… It’s more important than we think
- We have everything we need to love others
- Love is easily recognized as love
- So, why does the church have a love problem?