It’s Valentine’s week; love is in the air. It’s a sweet fragrance for some, while for some it reeks of disappointment or heartburn. Either way, this is a time that reminds us of the longing that all humanity has felt since time immemorial. We all long to be loved and to love. We all want to share a special ‘bond’ with a special somebody. Isn’t it strange that we use the word ‘bond’ to describe such special relationships? If you think about it though, it isn’t quite so strange. Love, at its core, is the impulse to bind ourselves to another, is it not? It is the urge to go beyond ourselves and make another the focal point of our affections. Modern love, however, is a different creature.
If popular culture is any indication, ours seems to be a generation that believes love works best when kept casual and breezy. It is best, we are told, to keep it uncomplicated and free. Modern love can come in all shapes and sizes. Why tie it down with heavy stuff like commitments and definitions? This seems to make perfect sense sometimes. Enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling without an undue loss of freedom and personal space. But alas! The longings to bind ourselves and find deep bonds remain. While our minds demand full freedom, our hearts cry out for attachments. This is the paradox of modern love in the post-modern world.
We could begin resolving this paradox if we embrace a simple truth about ourselves. The Bible says we are created by God, for the purpose of loving him and being loved by him. And this love that he offers through Jesus is a covenant love. This is why we all instinctively seek to bind ourselves with those we love. Covenant may seem like a very scary word which compromises our freedom. But when the person on the other end is the perfect Creator who loves us unconditionally, it is actually empowering. Receiving this love that we were crafted for can be ultimately satisfying and profoundly freeing. It can make us bold enough to be vulnerable. It can give us the courage to commit to covenant love with our fellow-beings, whether in family, friendships, or marriage.
So here’s wishing you all a happy Valentine’s day! May our modern love stories be deeply binding, yet filled with the freedom that comes from God’s perfect love.
Jesus is unconditional love.