Lust, Romance, Infatuation or True Love?

By Not Known

This year, Valentine’s Day has slipped under the radar because of the Lunar New Year holidays. However I felt I should write something if for no other reason to warn that there is a huge difference between lust, infatuation, romance and true love.

Someone put it like this: All our lives we have heard the fairy tale of love. It has been our bedtime story through the years, reaching us through songs, advertisements, TV and radio, the movies, books and magazines we read. It is so much a part of our culture that we sometimes do not realize how much it affects us. In other words we have been brainwashed to think that love should be as the world portrays it. As in every area of life, we must remember the Bible offers a counter-cultural perspective, and as evangelical, Bible-centred Christians we must hold the Bible to be our highest authority to help us navigate through life.

Love is not a one-night-stand, “hooking up with” or “picking up” someone at a bar or club. Nor is it getting intimate in a parked car at some secluded spot. Nor is it “falling helplessly in love” with some well-dressed dude or hip beauty queen. Swooning over someone physically attractive is more likely infatuation which focuses on externals. We can also be swept away by bubbly, cloud-9 notions of romance: the excitement, the “chase”, the long chats.

There is a horrendous episode in 2 Samuel 13 where Amnon (son of King David!) “fell in love” with Tamar (his half-sister!) and became so obsessed with her that he looked “so haggard morning after morning” (v4). Amnon and his friend Jonadab (some friend!) devised a cunning plan to bring the unsuspecting Tamar into his room where she succumbed to his lecherous attack. Her rational appeals for restraint on religious and moral grounds were beaten down by his lust. But what he did after that was even more reprehensible – he threw her out like a piece of useless furniture. She had been used, abused and discarded – a scenario which sadly has been repeated many, many times ever since.

Love that lasts is more than emotion and passion. It is considerate, sensible and deep. It is built on compatibility, character, ideals and spiritual qualities (read 1 Cor 13). For marriage to last it requires emotion (of the heart) but also commitment (of the mind). The marriage vows are “.. for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish till death separates us.”  Marriage is a lifelong commitment no matter what happens. Too many people get married on puppy love and end up living a dog’s life. Don’t make the same mistake.

Graham Ng