Is Love to Blame?

by Steve Klein

Have you ever known parents who claimed that they loved their children too much to spank them? Ever known someone who tried to justify having sex outside of marriage because they loved the person? Ever known a Christian who would not rebuke and correct religious error because they loved others too much to hurt their feelings in this way? I submit that in each of these cases, love is being blamed for something that it has nothing to do with.

The Bible plainly teaches that love motivates us to do exactly the opposite of what was described in each of the preceding examples.

Love will cause us to discipline our children. "He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly" (Proverbs 13:24).

Love demands that we abstain from sexual immorality. If we love someone, we are not going to participate with them in an act that will condemn their soul! If we do, we are being selfish, not loving. In Ephesians 5:2-3, God's word explains that walking in love involves avoiding fornication: "And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication . . . let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints" (Ephesians 5:2-3).

Love will move of us to rebuke sin and correct error. Love will not allow us to stand idly by and watch those we care about lose their souls by committing sin or believing doctrinal error. Jesus said, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten" (Revelation 3:19). The apostle Paul had strongly rebuked the Corinthians. In II Corinthians 2:4 he explains why: "For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you."

The right kind of love will never cause us to do the wrong kind of thing. Love "does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth" (I Corinthians 13:6). Real love will never be used to justify sin; rather, it will be used to help us identify what is what is right and good. The Lord's will is "that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent" (Philippians 1:9-10).

Love always seeks the most lasting good for the one who is being loved. Momentary pain or pleasure is not love's greatest concern. Love is focused on the eternal welfare of the one who is loved. "My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth" (I John 3:18)