|He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not|
by Jane Jimenez - (AgapePress)
April 27, 2006
Category: Social Issues
|NCE UPON A time, if you wanted to know if he loved you, it was a simple matter of asking a daisy flower. Pluck a petal, he loves me. Pluck another, he loves me not. Plucking petal after petal, down to the center of the daisy, love, not, love, not, love ... He loves me! Or, depending on the daisy, He loves me not!|
Once upon a time, it used to matter if he loved me or loved me not. Love was the point. We were looking for love, and we weren't shy about it. Lucy loved Desi. Mr. Cleaver loved Mrs. Cleaver. And the Beatles celebrated She Loves You ... Yeah, Yeah, Yeah ... Yeah!
From the simple to the complex, the measure of love was always the measure of value rising from human activity. On the personal level, love was sanctified in marriage. On the social level, love was the source of power for great movements.
One can't imagine Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, leadership of the civil rights movement without acknowledging its foundation of love. Writing from a jail in Birmingham, he worked to explain his passion for opposing segregation. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," King wrote. "We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
King led demonstrations against segregation. But he did so in love. He never aimed to replace one system of injustice with another. Standing on love, he exemplified his dream.
It is no mistake that King founded his social movement on non-violence. Coretta Scott King explained that the central element of her late husband's philosophy of nonviolence emanated from "his belief in a divine loving presence that binds all life. This belief was the force behind all of my husband's quests to eliminate social evil ...."
Love, for King, was the fountain from which flowed justice, dignity, and dreams. And as co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, King's writings always turned to the One who epitomized ultimate love.
Christ, in one of His last moments as teacher to His disciples, expressed everything we can say about love, humility, and sacrifice with one towel and a bowl of water. "Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love .... He got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him." [John 13:1,4-5 NIV]
In the habit of explaining great truths in parables, Jesus created a living parable of sacrificial love, love that grows from humility, a love demonstration of the Golden Rule. And just to make sure the disciples would clearly receive His teaching, He told them, "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them." [John 13:14-16 NIV]
He loves me ... a humble sacrifice done in love because you love me as you love yourself. He loves me not ... anything less.
A consideration of the fullest expression of human love shines a bright light on the culture of sex in America today. It helps explain why foes of abstinence education fight with such furor and hostility against those who would raise sexual abstinence until marriage as a noble and expected standard of sexual behavior for young people.
This fight against abstinence education is, at its most fundamental level, an expression of an attempt to keep sex from being subordinated as a function of sacrificial love. The fight against abstinence education is a struggle to maintain sex as an isolated function of two physical bodies, each seeking personal physical pleasure at the expense of what might be done to the other body.
Abstinence education restores the importance of love, humility, and sacrifice as part of the sexual act. It inspires students to value their sexuality as one dimension of their capacity to be loved and to give love. This is a much bigger focus for sex than what has been promoted since birth control elevated Hugh Hefner as the cultural icon of human sex. And it can't be tolerated by those who pay homage to Hefner.
The sexual revolution was less about birth control than it was about divorcing us from the responsibility for the welfare of other human beings. We were given permission to use others to gratify our physical sexual urges and ignore the consequences of loveless sex as collateral damage. Babies in utero were redefined as tissue. STDs were redefined as treatable illnesses. And heartbreak was defined as a religious value.
He loves me. My total welfare, economic, physical, social, emotional, relational, and spiritual is of greater importance to Him than any physical shiver of sexual pleasure.
Anything less than that? He loves me not.
A former elementary school teacher, Jane Jimenez (firstname.lastname@example.org) is now a freelance writer dedicated to issues of importance to women and the family. She writes a regular column titled "From the Home Front." Her work has appeared in both Christian and secular publications. Jane and her husband Victor live in Phoenix and have two children.
More columns by Jane Jimenez