‘Love stinks’ – really?

Of all the sayings we hear about Valentine’s Day, you are hard pressed to find a greeting card with “Love Stinks” on the cover. The J. Geils Band sang this pithy anthem as the singer concluded he was in a one-sided relationship: “And so it goes till the day you die, this thing they call love it’s gonna make you cry. Love stinks, yeah yeah, love stinks.”

While these lyrics were penned almost 35 years ago, it is a common response for many who have been hurt and broken by “love.” Even for those who have not felt that sting of brokenness, many can relate to Foreigner’s lyrics, “I Want to Know What Love Is.” Especially on a day like today, there is a longing to truly experience the real meaning of love.

There are many positive expressions of love in human relationships: those for your spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters, family, friends, etc. Some of us have been blessed to experience this kind of love and bless others with it. Love is more than a feeling, and it is hard work. But where does love originate? And when I find it, how do I live in love?

I heard the Bible described once as God’s love letter to His creation. The “big story” is how God created humanity to be in relationship with Him. When His creation revolted in disobedience, God pursued with a plan of love to come near and rescue them. The story of redemptive love drips off the pages. 1 John 4:7 declares, “love comes from God.”

God is the source of love and verse eight says, “Whoever does not love, does not know God, because God is love.” So if someone does not love, it means that they do not know God. God is love and His creation can only understand what real love is when they go to the source. The passage then explains how God demonstrated his love by sending Himself through Jesus to restore the relationship by His sacrificial death and resurrection (verse 10).

People can respond to His love and be in relationship with the God who created them. This is not a one-sided love relationship, but an intimate love relationship that can be experienced and freely given to others. This divinely inspired love makes it possible for people to actually experience a love that does not “stink” and is not elusive.

So, if you are “down on love,” or still “looking for love in all the wrong places,” consider this divine love. The results will change your life, as you then can be a positive source of love for others. In loving others, with God’s love, we can truly live in love because “God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” (verse 12) That’s what LOVE is all about. Now go enjoy this Valentine’s Day!

Frank Alioto is the pastor of The River Covenant Church: “An Alaskan church for people who would rather go to the River.” We gather on Sundays, 10:30 a.m. at Kalifornsky Beach Elementary in Soldotna. Call 252-2828 or visit www.therivercovenantchurch.org.

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