In love with love

Consider this quote from Pastor Jeff Benson

“There would be very few people from any race, creed or religion that wouldn’t agree with the idea that marriage (and pre-marriage) relationships must be built on a foundation of LOVE … not just to ensure that they go the distance, but also for them to be the wonderful thing they are meant to be! 

The problem, however, is that the world typically defines love in an upside-down-inside-out kind of way. 

All too often the music we listen to or the movies we watch define love by the romantic feelings that we have towards someone when we open up our heart to them. 

This is a HUGE mistake, because essentially these heightened feelings are that of the need to be loved, not love itself … they represent a self-seeking desire rather than the selfless love that God calls us to place at the foundation of our relationships.”

Love is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot and used in a plethora of contexts. “I love my Mum”, “I love chocolate”, “I love this song”, “I love my dog”, “I love football”.

When it comes to relational love, many have tried to define or describe it …but more often than not, as Jeff said, the focus is on the feelings of in-love-ness. What it feels like to be the object of another’s affection. What it means to have all your sense of self tied up in the attention and opinion of another. Love is defined in measures of romantic gestures …the lengths another will go to in order to demonstrate how in-love they truly are.

“You hang up!” “No, YOU hang up!” – it must be love!

In the absence of a Biblical understanding of love and the subsequent personal implications of that, we are at the mercy of our feelings and others to define that for us.

We need to start with God who IS love and look to Him; to His word to align ourselves with what is on His heart for us to know and embrace. What IS love? What will it look like in MY life? How does it INFORM my feelings and responses?

What about … Intimacy?

At iGnite 2 weeks ago I brought a message titled “What about … Intimacy?” – addressing issues of sexuality, relationship and intimacy from a Biblical perspective and with a heart to see a healthy culture in our church family at WBC around these issues. The link to that message is here.

I am regularly asked to speak to different churches, youth groups, parent nights and leadership teams on these issues as the Church continues to try and ‘reclaim’ a Biblical understanding of our sexuality and design for intimacy amidst the brokenness we experience in our search for love and in a world that values very little in respect to purity and honour.

Here is an excerpt from an article out of the Fuller Youth Institute in the States that gives some tips for parents looking to address these issues with their teens …

If you’re a leader or parent who finds it challenging to talk to young people about sex, try some of the following tips that have worked for me:

  1. Start by asking about friends’ behaviours and attitudes. If it feels too challenging to ask a young person about their own practices or attitudes, ask about “other kids at school” as a way to start the conversation.
  2. Use media, current events, or other resources as a springboard. Maybe even start the conversation by using the content of this blog as a door-opener.
  3. Choose the right time. Much of conversation with teenagers boils down to timing.
  4. Share about your own experiences. One of the themes in our Sticky Faith research is that wise parents share (not lecture!) about their own experiences in natural and organic ways. Without divulging every detail of your sexual past, perhaps your young person is ready to hear a bit about mistakes you made, or what you wish you’d done differently.
  5. Invite your young person to talk to another adult. If you’re a parent and it’s just too challenging to talk with your young person about sex, then figure out with your kid who they might be able to talk to.

Often there’s more happening sexually in young people’s lives and thoughts than we might realize. May this new study be a catalyst for better conversations about tough topics.

The full article can be accessed here.

We desire to be a support and resource to your families as you seek to navigate these tricky issues with your young people. Please do not hesitate to engage us in any way that is useful to you – pointing you in the direction of other resources, connecting your young person with a leader or mentor, chatting things out with you, connecting you with other parents who are a little ahead of you on the journey … however we can assist.