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Elected Officials

Stop Romanticizing Love


Toby Forehand September 06, 2019
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This post was written by TeenPact Student Body President Toby Forehand of Georgia.


 

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God

with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 

This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments

depend all the Law and the Prophets.” 

Matthew 22: 37-40

 


A lot has been said about the concept of love – especially within Christian culture. And these verses make it extremely clear that it’s important; in fact, it would seem, it’s what is most important.

 

So rest assured that this post isn’t going to be me trying to interpret what love truly is or tell you my own theories about how many types of love there are or anything like that. 

 

Instead, I want to address a very real problem that I’ve observed within myself and a lot of people like me. I believe the Christian church is romanticizing love. Now, before I go any further, I want to clarify; I know “romanticizing” is a funny word to use in this context. That’s why I chose it. So let’s take a look at the definition.

 

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says to romanticize is “to think about or describe something as being better or more attractive or interesting than it really is”.

 

Hopefully, this definition has served to clarify my meaning. I believe that we might be in danger of talking about or describing Christian love as more attractive or interesting than it really is. Bold statement, right? 

 

Here’s what I’m getting at. Ask yourself if this sounds familiar: You’re reading a book like Love Does by Bob Goff or Kisses for Katie by Katie Majors and you get a fired-up feeling inside. This world needs more love, you think to yourself. This is the stuff that changes the world. This is how people see who Jesus is. Just the thought of the transformative power of Christ’s love swells within you and you’re ready to go love the world. 

 

IS the Christian church is romanticizing love?

 

And then your little sister says you should do the dishes; she did them last time. Or your mom says you need to not stay up so late and get on a better study schedule. Or you see a homeless person needing money when you’re on the way to get coffee. Or you realize the awkward kid at TeenPact has no one to sit with but your friends are expecting you to sit with them. Or someone starts a rumor about you that isn’t true and you want revenge. Or you don’t get accepted to TeenPact Staff. Or Intern. 

 

In all of these real-life situations, I fear we often excuse ourselves from love. Love doesn’t have to be the first response anymore – frustration feels way more natural. We definitely still believe in loving our neighbor and living a life of love; yet, somehow, the concept doesn’t seem as attractive or interesting as it did on the pages of our favorite Bob Goff book (nothing against Bob Goff, I love him as much as the next TeenPacter). 

 

This is what I mean when I say we’re romanticizing love. We get fired-up about loving on the hypothetical lost world in our minds, but forget to be loving toward the people staring us in the face every day. I don’t say this out of judgement. I say it because I know it’s true about me. 

 

The smallest amount of real Christian love is better than a lifetime of hypothetical good intentions. 

 

So let me challenge you: let’s not romanticize love. Let’s make it real. Let’s turn the passionate feeling in our chests into real-world helpfulness, friendliness, kindness, encouragement, love. 

 

And let’s not make it harder than it has to be. Here’s what I’m going to do and I hope you’ll do it with me: Look up from your computer or phone screen. Figure out the next loving thing that you should do or say – and do or say that thing. Then move on to the next one. And the next one. And the next one. 

 

The smallest amount of real Christian love is better than a lifetime of hypothetical good intentions. 

 

Let us love.

 

Student Body President Toby Forehand

About the Author

Toby Forehand

Toby Forehand comes from the tiny, completely unnoticeable town of Garfield, GA. With a population of 204, to say that Garfield is a bit “sleepy”… Read More