Rite of passage parenting: What the world needs now
Diana Ross wasn’t far from the truth when she sang , “What the world needs now is love, sweet love; It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…”
Each year, our students spend 35 days studying a doctrine of the Bible. Last year, we studied work. We learned that our work is an act of worship and we must work, for the night is coming when no man can work (John 9). The year before, our theme was “Worth It,” which taught the students about their value to the God who sent His Son to die for them.
This year, our doctrinal study covers love. The No. 1 question typed into Google is, “What is love?” It’s asked twice as much as any other question.
Once, I was listening to a guru from the Middle East lecture at a university. One of the students asked him, “What is love?” He responded by saying love is unexplainable. I beg to differ. We have a book called the Bible that describes, explains and expounds on this topic.
Some time ago, I was working in the city of Prague, famous for its fine crystal. I wanted to get my wife a gift, but it didn’t take long to realize I couldn’t afford to buy her anything as nice as what I wanted. The salesman, seeing my dilemma, suggested a crystal heart. He showed me a small one that had been cut like a diamond with many facets. The price still seemed high for such a small gift, but it was unique, and I bought it.
Late one night, when I returned home from my overseas trip, I gave my wife this special gift. She hung it in the window above the kitchen sink. The next morning, she came into the bedroom and shook me, saying, “Get out of bed! I have something to show you!”
Still suffering from jet lag, I didn’t want to get up. But by the way she was talking, I knew I’d better go check it out.
When I did, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Dozens of brightly-colored rainbows covered our kitchen wall. The sun was shining through the crystal heart, and when it hit, each facet exploded into the colors of the rainbow. For many years, the rainbows created by that little heart greeted us as we entered the kitchen.
The artist who began with that raw chunk of crystal knew how to cut it in such a way that each ray of light would be captured and broken down into the hues we call the rainbow. As the sun moved through the morning, the rainbows would change and dance across the wall.
Love can be a difficult concept. That’s why God gave us 1 Cor. 13. This passage acts like the facets on a crystal. It breaks God’s love into dozens of parts: What it is and what it is not.
This summer, we’re looking at love in its simplicity. Love is from God. Love is God. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love”
(1 John 4:7, 8).
A popular country and western song says, “I was looking for love in all the wrong places. Looking for love in too many faces.” One of the enemy’s greatest deceptions is to have us look for love in fashion, in ideas, in philosophy, in drugs and alcohol, in cheap relationships and sex—in fact, in everything but God.
What does it mean to be “born of God”? Jesus said it best when he met Nicodemus at night. Nicodemus seemed to have had it all: senior class president, Homecoming king, leader of the Pharisees and, no doubt, a wealthy man. But something was missing in his life, so he came to talk to Jesus. Instead of giving him a long, complicated answer, Jesus said simply, “You must be born again” (John 3:7).
Understanding, receiving and implementing love begins with a true salvation experience. Why did Jesus come to this Earth? That question has another simple answer: “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16a).
Once again, God and love stand side-by-side. If you have trouble understanding love, maybe you need to start from the beginning with “You must be born again.”
Have you had a genuine salvation experience? If not, you’ll never understand true love, and you won’t have the ability to love. Today, would you bow your head and humbly confess to Him that you’re a sinner, and you need the God of love to come into your life and fill you with His love?
What the world needs now is … the God Who is love.