I'm quite amazed as I write this how people can raise their kids to believe that love is based on transaction: I will like and love you if you do this or that. Yet, throughout my years of ministry, I keep hearing this, from kids and teenagers, over and again: "They will love me if I do this, that or the other, they won't like me any more if I don't do this, that, or the other." There are so many hurting because of this, huge portions of each generation seeking to please, and falling short. Is it a wonder divorce is so rampant? Is it a wonder that so many young kids (yes, as young as elementary age) engage experimentally with sex? Why? Because we are distant when it comes to giving and expressing love, and society, through our media especially, tells kids that this is the way to find love and happiness: give people what they want.
Love has nothing to do with transaction. It has nothing to do with feeling or emotion. It has everything to do with sacrifice. Giving without expectation of return. God demonstrated that to us from the beginning. He created a paradise, and gave it to us with but one expectation: allow me to define good and evil, and in the meantime, you rule this world while I rule the heavenly realm. We failed. And yet, over and again, our History shows that God tried to draw us back to Himself. Over and again, God gave us Himself. Gave OF Himself, even to the point of giving His own Son, that we might return to that loving relationship, unhindered by anything. Yet many people can't understand this love, because for millennia, we've taught that "if you're good, God will love you, if you're bad, He will hate you." That's not how it works. Obedience is the highest form of love: it shows dedication, and sacrifice. It gives without expectation of return (Christ died for the ungodly, but many despise Him anyway). It's time we take love back. It's not a way to get what you want, or to fulfill loneliness, it's the way to serve, both God and each other, and it is the way to find peace. True love casts out all fear, and God's love is both true and perfect. 1 John 4:7-21 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.