Many, many moons ago, times were very different.  It was a time when your choice of coffee was Hills Brothers or Folgers.

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It was before the time of Starbucks and smartphones, when only the wealthy and powerful had a mobile phone, and it was the size of a small suitcase.  It was when there were only 3 networks, and a few small independent TV stations.  It was when you had to saddle up and ride your brontosaurus to the grocery store, the whole time dodging the T-Rex’s and wooly mammoths.  During this time, when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, a new invention was catching on, it was the VCR.  Shortly after the invention of the VCR game the invention of Video Rental.  So, now we had the opportunity to watch movies whenever we wanted, we hadn’t come up with the idea of “movies on demand” yet.  You just walk into the National Video store and look at the walls of movies.  They stretched from floor to ceiling, so you could see the cover of each one.  A counter separated you from the videos themselves, because you couldn’t trust just anyone to handle these things.  You would ask an employee to see the box, read the reviews and make your decision.

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Best of all, if you didn’t have a VCR player at home, you could even rent one of those there.  It was a lot of paperwork, including letting them take an impression (yes, I said impression, because they didn’t have the scanners then) of your credit card so they could charge you if you broke one of these expensive pieces of equipment.  Then, off for a major event, watching a movie, OF YOUR CHOICE, at home.  You didn’t have to watch what was on TV, and, (drumroll, please), no commercials.  It was truly amazing!!!

So, one day my dad chooses a movie for us that he said was an amazing movie for he and my mom when they were first married.  It was a story about a young couple, tragedy, love, and just an over all great movie.  They had seen it and it was simply amazing he said.  ( I was too young to know what a chick flick was then.  It was a movie, ON MY TV, who cared!!!).  He forgot that when he watched it the first time, he wasn’t a Christian.

So, my dad gets Love Story and pushes it into the VCR.  We sit down with eager anticipation to watch this move.  Well, it didn’t take long for my dad to realize that the movie wasn’t as glorious as he once remembered.  “Love means never having to say you are sorry.”  A couple who completely rejects God as the foundation of their marriage (who lives together before they are married), who has a wedding that doesn’t even include ’till death do you part.  My dad had forgotten a lot of this, and decided that this wasn’t a movie that we needed to watch.  I don’t remember what we did to redeem the evening, but I do remember the stand my dad took in not finishing the movie, and I admired him for it.

You see, dad understood that regardless of the title, and regardless of what our culture says, and regardless of all the messages that come across, what was shown in this movie wasn’t love.  Times have changed, and by today’s standards, this is a very mild movie, but it still isn’t love.

Love means wanting to repent and make sure nothing interferes with the relationship.  Love means putting the other person first.  Love is patient and will wait for the other person.  Love is kind, even when the other person is not, Love doesn’t not envy and want what the other person has, but rejoices that they have been blessed by God.  Love does not boast about itself, but takes every opportunity to build up the other person.  Love is not rude, but puts the other person first, it is not arrogant, but finds that there is no job too menial or demeaning, if it means getting to serve the one you love.  Love keeps no record of wrongs, and doesn’t rejoice in evil, but rejoices in the truth of who the one they love is.  Doesn’t sound much like our culture huh?

I think our culture’s view of love can be summed up in one word, “if”.

If you loved me, you would sleep with me.

If you loved me you would stop annoying me

If you loved me you do what I want to do

If you loved me you would be more like ______

If you don’t do what I want, that means you don’t love me!!

It’s funny, because I Cor 13 is a measure of what love is, and it is also a measure of who Christ is.  Even more than that, if we are to love as Christ loved, it is a measure of what we are supposed to be.

I Cor 13 doesn’t put conditions for the other person to meet on love.  It doesn’t say,

Love is patient, if the other person isn’t trying to annoy you.

Love is kind, if the other person isn’t being mean to you

Love is not rude, if you are in a good mood

Love does not boast, if you look better than the other person already

Love does not envy, if you have everything you want

Love bears all things, if I don’t have too much on my plate already.

Go ahead, take a look, I already checked, but you can check for yourself, there are no if’s in the chapter.  Well, I take that back, there are if’s, but they are if’s related to how wonderful I think I am, but IF I lack love, then all my wonderfulness is meaningless.

Love isn’t never having to say you are sorry.  Love is living as Christ would live, and loving your spouse as Christ already did love.  Remember, He died for your spouse, while they were His enemy.  Is it really too much for him to ask for you to be kind, generous, patient, in short, loving, to the person for whom He died?

So, we rode our brontosaurus back to National Video.  I didn’t see the movie, but I will say, Love Story (and the fact that my dad turned it off, because it wasn’t love), had a big impact on me and helping me understand true love in the midst of a culture who doesn’t.  These 3 remain…Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is LOVE.

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