Is Love Worth It?

In Tough Questions by Antwuan Malone14 Comments

What is the price of love?

That’s been the question floating around in my mind for the last week or so. When God created the world, what did He mortgage in order to allow for love?

For many, God didn’t mortgage anything. They say today’s world is exactly the way He intends it to be. Perhaps that’s true, but not in the way those people probably mean it. If intended means everything that has ever and will ever happen is what God wanted, I’d adamantly disagree. You won’t get past the first book in The Bible before finding a God who is frustrated with Men. Go past that first book and you’ll see it much more. Clearly, God doesn’t get what He wants all the time. We could check today’s news for evidence of that.

But if by intended we mean something beyond God’s frustration at mankind’s behavior, then we may be onto something. If by intended we mean God chose to put up with a little bad, a little frustration, in light of some greater good, then I’d say we’re closer to correct.

Reading “God doesn’t get what He wants all the time,” may cause you to squirm in your seat. A statement like that may mess with your idea of how a God who is in control, a sovereign God, might go about His business on Earth. Perhaps you feel such a God would micromanage the comings and goings of all things in order for it to work to his desires. Personally, I don’t think micromanagement is a good managerial tactic, for God or otherwise.

If we’re all honest, though, we can admit that many things happen that God wishes didn’t. Many evils and injustices occur that God prefers not to witness. And yet, in the face of a sovereign God, those evils and injustices happen anyway.

Why is that?

Who knows? The definitive answer to that question is probably far too involved for any of us to comprehend in full. But we might begin with this line of thinking. From now on, when someone asks me, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” or “Why is there sin in the world?” I’ll answer with one word.

Love.

Ironic, really, when you think about it. Especially considering that such questions are often asked by cynics seeking to prove God does not exist, or that if He does, He doesn’t care what happens down here.

Still, love is the answer. In fact, I’d even say that evil is the price of love.

I’ve been known to say, “You don’t really know if you love someone until they give you a reason not to love them, and you go on and love them anyway.” In other words, true love reveals itself most fully in adversity. Love shines brightest when, despite having reason to hate or despise, one chooses to wait and to love. It’s in those moments that love is most honest, most undeniable… most true.

The Bible teaches that God created Man to love Him. But what is love without freewill? And what is freewill without choices? And where is the power in choices if they all end well? Love needs freewill. Freewill needs choices. And choices need both good and evil results.

The consequences and effects of evil must be allowed to work out, else God would “cut the legs from beneath” goodness and truth. If God nullified all the negative results of bad choices, then what would be the real difference between good and evil? How could love be tested and proved? Without evil and its effects, there is no real choice for love, no chance for the needed discomfort of sacrifice and selflessness that true love requires.

Pain and discomfort are often the vehicles of the love, the broken ground in which love’s seeds die, grow, and flourish.

So now the question is: Is it worth it?

Is love worth the evil that seems requisite for its existence? Is it worth the discomfort, pain and death? You tell me. But sure as I’m typing, no pain = no love.

I’m reminded of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem In Memoriam:

I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

Do you agree that evil and pain is the cost of love? If so, is love worth it?

 

The following two tabs change content below.
Antwuan Malone is a Ministry Director at ELEVATE Young Adult Ministry (elevateministry.net) where empowers young adults toward Christian leadership. He is passionate about seeing young adults take their place in church history by drawing near enough to God to hear his call on their life, and courageously living in obedience to that call.
14 comments
Carl Rooker
Carl Rooker

Does God think love is worth it?  Ask His Son who died a horrible death for us.  That was Love!

Victor
Victor

The price of love is vulnerability. Putting your whole self out there - no pretending, no barriers, no manipulation. There is pain, we aren't perfect, we make mistakes and hurt each other. That's a given - we're human. I'm not sure I agree (or even understand) your statement: "You don’t really know if you love someone until they give you a reason not to." I would say you don't really know someone if they are giving a reason not to love them. If they are giving you a reason not to love them, then what does that say about how they perceive themselves? I don't think evil and love are tethered together. Evil is the absence of love. Although having been divorced I can see where you might think they are tethered. There were several times that I thought my Ex was the devil incarnate. And she was someone I loved (or thought I loved), but I now I know how shallow it was and how it wasn't love. I do think that love and pain are tethered. There is no pain that compares to the loss of a loved one. The pain of being hurt by a loved one is much stronger than being hurt by someone who doesn't matter to you. Thanks for the thought provoking blog. Victor

DeAnna
DeAnna

"Is Love Worth It?", you ask. Very subjective question, which depends entirely on the nature of the relationship :)

@HeligKo
@HeligKo

I think in the modern world marriage absolutely demonstrates God's relationship with the Church. It is both reflective and a model. When the Church is serving God, then we have a working marriage. Broken marriages look an awful lot like churches that aren't following God's will, and have stopped being intimate with God as a body and as individuals. I am experiencing that brokenness in my own marriage, and spend a lot of time thinking about that image. How does it fit? How did I get here, and how do I change things? I learned how to love in the last year, and in that learning I now have learned that to control my wife, and try to force her to stay would not be love at all. That is when I realized even a broken marriage demonstrates how God loves the Church. God will allow us to walk away, because there isn't love if he doesn't allow us to choose. In heaven I plan on asking why love is so important to God, but until them I have to accept that it is, because I see its effects on the world around me.

michaeldouglasjohnson
michaeldouglasjohnson

I quoted you on twitter (and on facebook) when you said, “You don’t really know if you love someone until they give you a reason not to.” I have said similar things. If you just love the way someone makes you feel then you don't love them you love yourself. I enjoyed this post.

James
James

This morning I wrote that I don't think we know what God wants from people. It has something to do with intimacy, if we can trust all the "marriage metaphors" in the Bible, but the marriage imagery breaks down pretty quickly, due to the severe inequity of status between people and God. If a man or woman wants an intimate relationship, they choose an equal partner. God has no equal. Why did He create us?

@antwuanmalone
@antwuanmalone

Good point about vulnerability. Very good point. I'm a major advocate of transparency and vulnerability in relationships! I suppose I mean that love is often not truly revealed until it is tested. You don't know if or how much you love a person until they hurt you, or some circumstance about them or surrounding them makes it easy to leave, step away or be less involved. I believe it is true of most all relationships, not only the romantic ones. As for pain tethered to love... I guess that's what I want to get people thinking about. Can we have love without pain, or does pain simply make love stand out all the clearer? Thanks for commenting!!

@antwuanmalone
@antwuanmalone

Well, I suppose I mean the question in light of the, which suggest love and evil are somehow tethered together.... what say you to that?

@antwuanmalone
@antwuanmalone

Thanks michael! I might have to add your phrase to my toolbox as well. That's good stuff!

@antwuanmalone
@antwuanmalone

I think we do know, or at least that we have a good guess. I see what you you might mean by the marriage model only taking us so far, but I think the reason God say "let us make Man in our image" is to give us a vehicle by which he can relate to us in a loving way... some way above the angels and the rest of natural creation. And though we aren't gods, we are made to "worship him in spirit and truth" as well as interact with Him on a spiritual level in general. I think he created us to choose to love him.

James
James

I understand that's the "politically correct Christian" response to the question, but it really doesn't explain why. We aren't anywhere close to perfect and yet God is perfect in everything. If we use the marital relationship as an example, a relationship between two (more or less) equal beings, then how does the metaphor expand back out to our relationship with God?

James
James

I can see your point, but I still struggle with the imagery. I also tend to take it for granted that there is stuff we miss or misunderstand in the Bible. When you're trying to interact with an infinite, all-powerful, radically One God, I doubt we're going to really understand him 100% of the time. @HeligKo's comment below also reminded me of another discontinuity between human marriages and the God/human relationship. In a human marriage, either or both partners can fall out of love, but God is in capable of that. If something goes wrong in our relationship, it's an absolute certainty that it's the human's fault.

@antwuanmalone
@antwuanmalone

Hmm, so you think it's a "Sunday School" answer. :) That's kinda funny and ironic. I try to steer clear of "politically correct Christian" responses because they annoy me as much as they do you. I appreciate you pushing beyond the surface. But my answer remains. My view of the God, as a spirit, means that we are the closest thing to him, both individually, and collectively (as the Church). The marriage metaphor is used SO much, for SO long in the Bible (starting in old all the way through to the new) that it is hard to ignore. Mataphors in themselves are not all inclusive parallels, as you no doubt know. It's funny because my bro and I were talking about Types in the old testament, and the same could be said there... that the various types are incomplete symvbolisms, and we should expect them to only go so far. Like so with the marriage metaphor. There appears to be an upper level of relationship God created Man for. We have an incomplete picture of what that all entails. Jesus gives us the best glimpse, but even his earthly relationship with God is not completely transparent.. I would venture to say that our spirituality is the key to this union, and that does make a semblance of sense to me. It is the way we are like God more than anything else. Sure we aren't "equal beings" but we are in his "image" which cannot by understated in light of the question you are asking. "In his image" does imply a certain congruence in makeup. Not full congruence, but perhaps as much as is possible given that we are created beings and He is not. I don't know if all that is helps contributes to the conversation, but I hope so. I hope we get a few other ideas though. I'd love to hear some others' thoughts on this.