Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
When I was in high school I discovered a writer by the name of Kenneth Roberts. He wrote historical fiction, mostly about the American Revolution, a period I found very interesting. I think I read every book Roberts wrote—at least all the ones in my local library.
Roberts was a writer and editor with the Reader’s Digest when he became concerned about the way historical fiction was being written. He felt the authors of those books took too much liberty with the historical aspects of their stories. He wanted to correct the record, so he left his post to write his own novels. His history was not only accurate, but in some cases, revolutionary (no pun intended). For example, his opinion of Benedict Arnold was very different from the commonly held belief.
For me there is only one flaw in his writing. Most of his novels centered around a love story with the male narrator as one of the participants—not bad in itself, but each one followed the same formula: boy meets girl/boy doesn’t realize the value of girl/boy finally falls for girl and they live (supposedly) happily after. Again, this isn’t bad in itself, but in Roberts’ hands it was so formulaic that as soon as the characters were introduced you could predict the outcome. Obviously, each male narrator was looking for the love of his life in the wrong place.
This is not the only way we look for love where we shouldn’t. There are so many we could fill several pages with them. There are, however, some general categories we should examine.
Sometimes we look for love not from a person, but from an object. We fall in love with a car, a TV set, a piece of jewelry, a house—any object that fills our heart with a desire to possess it. Once we have it, we give it all our love, all our attention until it becomes the center of our life. At that point we no longer own it; it owns us.
Sometimes we look for love in a cause. This is not bad in itself, but it can become a serious problem. We fall in love with the cause until it consumes us. Every waking hour we can possibly give is spent in our cause. We lose perspective. We no longer care about friends, family, getting involved with other worthy endeavors. Everything we have—time, talents, money—are given to our cause.
Sometimes our job becomes our love. There is no time to spend with family. No time for community projects. No time for hobbies. No time to relax. Any time spent away from our job we see as wasted. How can we give even a part of ourselves to some other passion—no matter how important or worthwhile it may be—when our job calls to us with a siren voice?
The problem with falling in love with things, or causes, or jobs is that they can’t love us back. Inanimate objects can’t love. Organizations can’t love. Because they are incapable of love they cannot give. They can only take. Because they cannot satisfy our desire to be loved they can never return our love, and so our affair is strictly one-sided, our affection unrequited.
Where should we look for love? First, from God. Jesus tells us (Matthew 6:33) that our primary objective should be to seek the kingdom of God. If we do that, our other needs—including our need for love—will be met.
God loves us. Because that is true, our love will never be unrequited. Moses says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”
That’s looking for—and finding—love in the right place.