Sunday, July 7, 2013

On Love: How wrong can it be!

Years ago (1970) a movie came out called LOVE STORY starring Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw. In the movie the female lead was dying of cancer. The male lead was angry and was attempting to apologize. She responded "Love means never having to say you're sorry". That line became the catch-phrase of the 1970s, and apparently, we're a "loving" nation now because few ever say they're sorry!

"Sorry" is not only expressing sympathy, but feeling the pain your actions have caused. As children, when we did something wrong, our parents forced us to say "I'm sorry." We did that very quickly and without feeling... "M Sor.......... !" This phrase was said in low tones in about one nanosecond. However, the fact that we uttered "sorry" satisfied all parties although everyone realized that it was totally meaningless and without emotion. Without contrition, words are wasted! Few people waste words today; at least not words which bridge bad relationships.

I spoke recently of narcissism... self-love. Narcisism is supplemented by pride. "Why should I tell someone else I'm sorry, when I didn't get my way?" We don't actually use this sentence, but that is the proud person's modus operandi. Self-love and pride are true bedfellows! You don't get one without the other. 

Psalm 10:4 (NET) "The wicked man is so arrogant (prideful) he always thinks, “God won’t hold me accountable; he doesn’t care.” " The KJV uses "pride"... the NET uses "arrogant"; having a high degree of self-worth or sense of importance. This is "self-love" and is a character trait of somone who is overly prideful.
We all know someone who never says "I'm sorry" although their behavior may be self-centered, hateful and arrogant. Think of that person right now. They are the ones who always have to have the last word, their argument is always right, they want things now, meals must be what they like, entertainment must always suit them, and the whole topic of conversation must be on a subject of their choice and about them. They tell you what they want for birthdays. They order their own Christmas presents . They're just plain old self-centered people who hurt with words and actions, but never feel or say "I'm sorry."  They are tyrants and have little regard for the feelings of others. They are the people who "never have to say I'm sorry"!
Such people aren't loving. Oh, yes, they love themselves, but do they truly love others or just use them? Sometimes they can indeed love and use them, but they're still egocentric.  Love is what they define it to be and is a conditional love. "If I get what I want I'll love you!" "Do it my way and I'll quit terrorizing you!" 
Yes, I've used "terror" a few times. That's what self-centered, unfeeling, unloving people do. They terrorize!  It's a mild form of mental torture, but none the less, it can and does cause much grief on the part of the recipient.
Romans 12:10 "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;"
Here we have the verse connecting "love" and "sorry". Love is toward others; preferring is toward others. We are to place the love interest of others above our own. "Love is saying you're sorry!" and the writers of LOVE STORY are dead wrong! However, we do know that as man gets more sinful their love grows weaker:
Matthew 24:12 "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."
"Love means never having to say you're sorry!" is partially right!  "having to" means that you are forced to say something. If you're forced to say "I'm sorry." it is in vain. "Love is being remorseful enough for your hurts that you say you're sorry!"  Sometimes we should even take the high road in deference to the other and say "I'm sorry" when you have just by perception wronged another!  I guarantee that God will honor your attempt to mend fences and you'll get blessed!
With God "Love is saying you're sorry!" Without repentence there is no salvation. Without love of God there is no salvation. If you have something against anyone God doesn't hear your prayers until you make it right!  For those of you who see pride and self-centeredness in yourself, just change. Make things right. Say "I'm sorry!" and mean it! God loves a contrite heart. Love God enough to love others. Be "sorry" for your pride. Be sorry for the hurt you've caused. Be sorry for being arrogant! Others will return your love many-fold.

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