Created to be Loved

December 19, 2009

There was a popular praise song among the Korean churches a few years back. The lyrics could be translated as: “you were born to be loved. You are still receiving that love.” Later on, another song took its place in ubiquitousness, that I’m guessing may have been a response to the seemingly selfish and self-centered nature of the first song. The first line, as well as the melody was eerily similar. The lyrics were something like “You were born to be loved, and to give that love to others.”

While I appreciate what the second song is trying to correct, I think this is a misunderstanding of what love actually is. One of the tendency of the fallen human nature is to worship whatever it loves. Frequently our fallible loves toward other creatures turn into idol worship. Since our beings are marked by need, since need flows out of us, we are constantly asking and expecting them to be fulfilled by the objects of our love. Our natural tendency is to prostrate ourselves. This tendency is not sinful in and of itself, for it means that we were created to love something that is greater than ourselves.

But we mistakenly attribute God and His love with this type of idol worship. We think that when God loves us, that it speaks to our loveliness more than God’s grace. We assume that God’s condescension shows a weakness in God. But what do we see in the cross? Yes, it is foolishness to those who are perishing. But to the elect, it is the power of God. Yes, Jesus is murdered at the hand of sinners. But God at this weakest moment is powerful enough to redeem through His death all of His church once and for all! It is able to accomplish by that single sacrifice what all of humanity is powerless to accomplish.

What does this love look like? If God indeed loves us through the cross, how does it affect us? My eyes were opened anew recently as I was talking with my mom. She was so very upset at my brother being out of shape. She was concerned for his general health along with his lifestyle. That is an aspect of love that our society tends to forget. “As long as you are happy!” we mistakenly think that is the mantra of true genuine love. But if the lover does not concern himself with the objective welfare of the beloved, then can this be real love? Isn’t it merely slothful nonchalance? When we say “as long as you are happy” do we really mean “as long as you don’t bother me about it, or as long as it doesn’t affect our comfortable relationship.” How is it loving for a parent to allow their child to ruin their life, become a habitual liar, or become a drug addict? Does not the heart of my mother who beats with love for my brother, hurt because he is not at a good place physically?

And what I see from this is that the transforming power of love comes from the lover, not the beloved. We have a God who loves us. If we were indeed created to be loved, then it is God whose heart aches when He sees His children falter. It is our God who is working to sanctify us and change us into Christ-likeness.

When we sing that we were born/created to be loved, we should not think selfishly. We should actually understand this to mean that there is God of Love who is the one deserving of all our love, for He alone is true Love.

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