Comparing Biblical and Modern Love


Dennis McCallum

Love is a big word in everyone's vocabulary, but not everyone means the same thing when we use the word. Indeed, the modern world has adopted a notion of love that is completely different from the love taught and modeled by Jesus Christ.

Comparing Biblical and Modern Love
Modern Love Biblical Love
Based on experience- happens to a person when the "chemistry is right" Based on a decision- We can decide to invest ourselves in another by giving of ourselves to meet his or her needs. Christ decided to die for us before we even existed (Ephesians 1:3)
Defined by feeling- "I love you" means I feel a certain warmth, desire, or affinity for you Compatible with feeling- "I love you" may sometimes mean a feeling, but it always means a commitment to serve. Jesus may not have felt desire or warmth toward the soldiers who flogged him, but he died for them anyway
Can't be controlled- Love has to happen, so I can't be expected to choose to love someone. Therefore, love, or lack of love, is not a moral issue- Can be controlled- Christian love is based on personal choice and commitment. Therefore, it is a moral issue (Mark 12:28-31)
Depends on the other person- He or she must be attractive or lovely enough to elicit a love response in me Depends on God and me- I can love the unlovely, like Christ did when he died for us while we were enemies of God (Romans 5:10)
Self-affirming- Love is a good feeling and must be two-way. If a relationship is not rewarding to me, I have the right to leave and find another. Self-sacrificial- Christian love is seeking to give victoriously and keeps no record of whether the other person gives back. (I Corinthians 13:5)
Meets others' desires- Effort is extended to please or pacify others by doing what they want. Meets others' needs- Christian love is concerned with doing what is good for another, not with what the other wants. This love recognizes that what people want and what they need are often different. The other person may need confrontation even if he or she doesn't want it.