Applied Belief: The ice age of love

Around this time next week many men will begin panicking because they haven’t made the time to go out and get something for their significant other. Valentine’s Day, that oh so wonderful day of love.

Deep down inside we all still desire to be the object of someone’s affection. Who doesn’t remember getting that Valentine’s Day card in school? Most people, whether they would admit it or not, enjoy being loved.

In fact, the driving force for many of our actions is love. We get up and go to work because we either love our job or we love our family for whom we are providing. We try to eat healthy because we love our bodies and want to feel well. You get the idea. As some popular songs have put it “Love makes the world go ‘round” and “What the World needs Now is love.”

Now wait just a minute. Talking about all this love seems so nice and sweet but when we turn on the nightly news and read the daily paper we tend to find the opposite of love. We find violence, hatred, war, murders, crime, etc. From time to time we find a positive story but it’s often tucked inside the paper and barely mentioned in the news segment. Jesus warned of this when he said, “because of the increase in wickedness the love of most will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12)

Today many have resorted to loving themselves then to loving God and loving others. Jesus again teaches us that all of God’s commands and requirements hang on two simple truths, two simple commands, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27)

Notice that Jesus is saying that the only thing God requires of us is to love God fully, and to love others as you would desire others to love you. That’s simple, yet so hard to do.

Because of the increase of wickedness, Jesus says fewer people will love God and thus love others. The Greek word used in Matthew for “wickedness” is ἀνομία — anomia — defined as a state of being disposed to do what is against the law.

In this case, Jesus is making it clear that in these difficult days men and women will increasingly desire to love themselves versus obey the laws of the land and more importantly the laws of God. Because the main laws are to love God and others then the result is the love of many growing cold.

Enough theological babble as they say. Bottom line is this: As we celebrate Valentine’s Day and demonstrate our love for others we must be aware of the state of “love” in the world today.

If only we could look forward to an Indian summer of love. Instead we are entering into a new ice age of love. The only solution to this problem is to return to the commands of Jesus Christ. It is not just a matter of saying I believe in God. We must “love” God. Not with a hallmark version of love where we remember to love at the designated time but a daily deep love, one that requires that we use all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

If we love God in this way, we will be able to love others accordingly and the world can truly be a better place. Remember, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. God is love.

Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 John 4:7-21)

About Rev. Marcos O. Almonte

Rev. Marcos O. Almonte is senior pastor at Brandywine Baptist Church, the oldest Baptist Church west of Philadelphia. Pastor Marcos is a graduate of Palmer Theological Seminary with more than 10 years working with families with an expertise in theology, trauma and addictions. Pastor Marcos and his wife Mary have three children, Carmen, Joseph, and Lincoln.

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