Posts Tagged ‘love’

Social media has been overflowing with articles about the imminent release of the pornographic film “50 Shades of Grey.” More articles than we can list here have highlighted the source book’s links to relational damage, disorders, destruction, abuse. And some have gone beyond sounding the warning to giving an empathetic but honest response, like this wonderful response from Annie Edwards: freedom meets pleasure

This loving response by caring adults to the huge media hype is calling attention in new ways to sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, and abuse of power. Anyone interested in truth does not have to look far to discover the science behind the damage that normalizing a film like this will do to individual’s ability to have healthy relationships but also the harm that viewing a film that links sexuality and violence can do to the developing brain of a teen or young adult. I am grateful to all those who are loving their neighbor by speaking out.

But the apparent popularity of this dangerous tripe in book form tells me that people have a love hunger. This must be more than middle age women wanting to be in “the in group.” I think it speaks to a hunger across the ages for something more than people have. People wonder if there is more to love. Here is an opportunity for those who know to point to what love is.

Love Is the Greatest.

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. #FightTheNewDrug EndSexualExploitation.Org

Well, I found my book. That makes it easier to blog. Let me explain. My house is for sale (I may do a separate entry later on just that topic) and so we try to keep the house clean. In the first eight days we have had nine showings with one scheduled for tomorrow. That’s good news….but keeping up with bills, homework, and books that you are blogging on while trying to keep the house “staged” is a fun challenge.

Apparently I must have thought the challenge was too easy because I attempted to move offices at work as well. The key is to sort and integrate as you go! You can see how well that has been going in this snapshot with about 75% of the move completed.

I will post on chapter 8 tomorrow. I have a post or two I would still like to do on chapter 7.

One of the great insights of this 7th chapter is that of the confusion that parents and youth have in the adolescent years as they try to understand the giving, expressing and receiving of love. Both kids and parents tend to look at the ways that love worked for them in childhood.

Parental love (as it was expressed in childhood) used to satisfy…now it does not. This is confusing, frustrating and the cause of no small amount of anxiety. What happens when comforting, “fixing/making it better,” anticipating, planning are no longer enough? What happens when the needs of identity, autonomy and belonging…for personal expression, identification, decision-making, and the exercise of the will are added to the young person’s life…..and therefore to the dynamic of the relationship?

And if we dare admit it to ourselves, what happens when the needs for love that our child used to meet in us are no longer satisfied as neatly….or perhaps at all?

As Peterson points out, Christian parents are at a distinct advantage in wrestling with this question. As the expression of childhood affection and friendship disappear, and as society pushes our child toward eros in all things, we understand and are called to the very love that an adolescent needs. It is the love that a mature adult can provide. That love is agape. Peterson writes:

Without it (agape) love between a parent and an adolescent becomes either desiccated and dry, there being no healthy growth to feed maturity, or bitter and resentful, as expectations are continually disappointed. (Agape) sees the nature of the other person and acts freely to do those things which suit that nature. It is not first of all a feeling, or an experience, or a need, but a decision. It wills the fulfillment of the other. It is the love that is demonstrated by God for His people. It is a love that neither exploits nor demands gifts. It seeks to enjoy what is there in the other person and to share what one has. It is the love that Jesus exhibited in every word and act: His love freed others to be themselves in a way they could never have been without Him and allowed them to respond with a love for God which no sense of dependence or realization of duty could have created.”

Moms and dads, you and I have been given the gift to love with agape love….and in so doing, set our children free to be themselves in ways they could never be otherwise…and to respond with love for God free from any encumbrance of our own needs or desires. What a privilege!

(This post is inspired by chapter 7 of Like Dew Your Youth: Growing Up With Your Teenager by Eugene Peterson. Get a copy of this great little book and check back each Thursday for the next 6 weeks to become part of the discussion).

Parents are ‘the architects of the family’; they are in a position and have the power to reshape the atmosphere and reestablish the trust.” (Clinebell quoted in Peterson, p 49)

Peterson asks “What kind of trust relationship do you have with God? Do you trust Him? Does He trust you? How do you show your trust for Him? How does He treat you?” Those are great questions, but unless our answers are informed by Scripture revealing that nature and character of God, our answers may only be reinforcing bad theology.

Here’s a hint about God’s modus operandi: Who did He trust with evangelizing the world…with making disciples of all nations? Here are a few more: Who did God trust with leading his people out of Egypt? With rescuing the spies in Jericho? With being the first King of Israel?

We are both teachers and learners of trust – as disciples we are learners, as parents we are teachers. And we teach best when we teach what we have experienced from our Heavenly Father, not from our environment in this broken and sinful world. Do you remember what it was like at the beginning….Were you trustworthy? I may not know you well reader, but I am confident of the answer. You were no more trustworthy than I….and I was a sinner. “God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Peterson claims that in “matters that are at the very core of our existence, we learn through demonstration, by having truth done to and for us. The One who is the very embodiment of Truth revealed what we could not know on our own. That Truth is self-sacrificial love. And so “we love because he first loved us.” (I John 4:19)

But what happens if we try to play it safe…if we choose not to risk….not to love…not to trust? According to Peterson, “if parents refuse to trust until their children prove that they are worthy of being trusted, trust will simply not develop.” (p. 50)

Mom and Dad, friend of teens…those kids you and I love will have a shot at learning to receive the love and trust of God as we model it for them. How does that square with good stewardship? I think we need someone to articulate a good theology of risk….anyone up for it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

(This post is inspired by chapter 6 of Like Dew Your Youth: Growing Up With Your Teenager by Eugene Peterson. Get a copy of this great little book and check back each Thursday for the next 7 weeks to become part of the discussion).

Love is…

Posted: February 14, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

It’s been said that love to a teen is spelled “T…I….M….E”

No question about that being true. What else have you found to be helpful in communicating love to teens?