Tag Archives: Community

Brief Thoughts of Love

My Young Friend,

Love has been tragically misrepresented and misunderstood. Love both requires of you and insists that you require of yourself; it is both a proper noun and a verb. It requires of itself what is best for another and gives it without reservation. Love demands sacrifice and sacrifice usually stings a bit.  Often it is genuinely painful, at times even debilitating.  Any one who has truly loved has felt both the joy and the bite of it. The idea that love is all pleasant and ever delightful is a gross adulteration.

I hear a great deal these days about fear of commitment, about lack of commitment, and inability to commit. I listen to tales of lack of intimacy and emotional distance in family relationships and in marriage. I am often told of loneliness, and the death of community. I believe these things are symptoms of a lack of love, and I do not believe it is commitment we are so afraid of, rather it is sacrifice that we fear.

Most of us have felt the confusion resulting from a person’s declaration of love for us followed by an expression of our sexuality, only to realize rejection at a later date. Some of us have felt the terrible vexation that comes when a parent who has claimed love for us has then neglected or abused us (or our other parent or sibling) and maybe even abandoned us or left the home. Each of us has been puzzled at one point or another by the expression of love and insult from the same mouth. Each of us has brandished both affection and grief with one tongue.

People are imperfect. We are incapable of either loving or hating perfectly. This is why we are taught to strive always to become perfect in love and to avoid hate altogether. We’re instructed to leave the hating to God. We are taught to learn of repentance and forgiveness and to become experts at both, and there is a Way.

Another method by which love has been horribly distorted is by the idea that love and sexuality can be one in the same. The two are never one. Human sexuality is and has always been one way in a million of expressing love. Obviously, it is often used in a perverse manner to express things that do not resemble love in the slightest.

For many reasons, one being to set the relationship above and apart from all others, and some that are mysterious and still known only to God Himself, we are told that His system is designed to function optimally for us (for all of us individually and as a corporate whole) when each of us limit the expression of our sexuality to one relationship with one person of the opposite sex (gender) for the entirity of our lives. Yet, we are encouraged by God to express our LOVE for everyone all the time!

My third and final offering concerning the misrepresentation of love is this: God is love, but love is not God.  According to His Word, God is many things and love is ever a part of Him; His perfect Love motivating him continually.  Love is only itself.  Love is one of the many attributes of God and is nonetheless the epitome of holiness and the greatest thing.  Love is perfect. God Himself is love, but love is not God. Therefore, we in our love are not God.  God is bigger.

Lastly, in love I offer this truth from God’s Word.   It is an expression of my love for you. May it allow you some clarity and grant you a bit of peace on earth.

An Old Friend

(Please see 1 John 3:16, John 13,  1 Corinthians 13: 1-13)

Copyright 2016, L.L. Shelton

How Bad Do Ya’ Want It?

As a Biblical counselor, I hear these and other words of the same meaning quite often:  The church is suffering from lack of community.  Our marriage is in trouble due to lack of intimacy.  My response: How bad do ya’ want it?

Community and intimacy are alike in that they are the result of a cyclical pass through vulnerability. Most of us prefer anywhere to there. Community and intimacy are the continual culmination of transparency, and accountability. These things require the practice of genuine love and authentic faith. These things mandate that our love be abundantly evident that we may expose ourselves without fear, and that we will welcome critical examination in our effort to be the best we can be for the other- and doing anything without fear requires faith.

What is faith? It is the evidence of things hoped for and the belief in things not yet realized.  Do we have it? Faith in God? Faith in ourselves, with God? Faith in one another? Do we believe that all things are possible with God? Do we believe that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength? Do we believe that we can trust God to make out of each of us, fallen as we are, something beautiful? Something resembling Himself? Can we patiently suffer one another- forgiving, seeking forgiveness, receiving grace, offering grace, guiding, allowing ourselves to be guided, being consistent as well as realistic in our expectations of one another as we wait for Him to do this in His time and in His way, both individually and in a corporate sense?

May I submit to you that this is what must be if we desire community with others, if we yearn for intimacy with another? It will not be easy. It will be difficult to achieve and to maintain- and it will be the place where our joy may be made complete.  Therefore, absolutely without a doubt, worth it.

How bad do ya’ want it?

Copyright, 2015, L. L. Shelton