I’ve decided I’d rather be known for what I stand for than what I stand against. And what I want to stand for is love. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “I’ve decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” In a culture of hate, the temptation is to harden our hearts, but love is the only thing that can overcome evil.
We live in an age of tolerance, yet there remains much we should not tolerate—including abuse, racism, violence, and modern slavery. And yes, it is important to take a stand against such evils. Yet often in the process of fighting injustice, we fall prey to hateful, bitter hearts. We forget to confront the root issues—those things lacking in our culture and left in the void that contribute to the mindset behind injustice. And what is most lacking in our world? Love.
Our culture has developed a craving for abusive relational habits, such as those trending in modern media. And why? Because we’ve lost sight of the true definition of love, or we never knew what love was to begin with.
In a child development class I once took, we were told that instead of telling a child not to do something harmful or dangerous, we need to give them something productive to do instead. In a similar manner, we can warn others against engaging in media that promotes abusive relationships, but unless we find a positive alternative on which to focus our attentions, appetites will never change.
As a boat with no anchor is sure to drift, a life with no understanding of selfless, sacrificial love will drift toward abuse, racism, violence, slavery, and other destructive tendencies. If those who know of true love stand on the sidelines yelling, “Stop drifting. Stop drifting!” what good is it? What we need is the anchor.
There’s a game called “name the lie, insert the truth.” In the case of relationships, it is no game. The lie is that we exist to gratify our own selfish desires, or to enslave ourselves to the indulgent appetites of another. The truth is, we were specially designed for relationship based on supernatural, self-sacrificing love that builds one another up rather than tearing down.
I hate abuse, racism, violence, slavery, and similar evils because they dehumanize, demoralize, and degrade those made for a greater love and a higher purpose. But more than that, I want to stand for love—it’s power to heal, transform, and overcome. Over the next fifty days, I’m devoting my attentions to exploring what true love is—whether through a Bible verse, a quote, or an example of self-sacrificing love. My personal Facebook and Twitter campaign is #50ShadesOfTrueLove. Feel free to join me, if you want.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)