I was in in the middle of eating lunch and thumbing through my friends’ Snap Chat stories when an article from Cosmopolitan about how to pull off having friends with benefits caught my eye. What I didn’t know is that God was going to use this article to remind me of what love really is all about.
At first, my hope was that this article was only click bait sarcasm on why being friends with benefits is a terrible idea.
And of course, I was wrong.
So wrong in fact, that the article actually had some celebrity psychologist spewing advice on how to have casual sex with a friend and not get hurt–or fall in love. The irony is that the author kept warning about the risks and pain that often come from these causal relationships.
Listen lovely reader, if you’ve ever been in a friends with benefits relationship or know someone who has, I’m not trying to point a judgmental finger. I get it. I may never have been in this kind of a “relationship” before, but I know what it’s like to use someone (even if unintentionally) for the sake of your own benefit.
Because that’s what being friends with benefits is. It’s using someone–a guy or girl who’s a friend–for pleasure without the sacrificial commitment of a relationship.
I see this a lot in all kinds of relationships–whether it be family, friends, or romantic relationships. We, as sinful human beings, would rather gain a reward and minimize our risks of getting hurt. We date people for years and even move in with them–as long as we don’t have to commit ourselves for life.
Only that’s not the way we were designed, and that’s exactly why we keep getting hurt. Using people isn’t respectful or kind–and it certainly isn’t love, which is the force God wants to encompass our lives.
So what is love?
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13 NIV)
True love means sacrifice. Jesus didn’t just walk around Earth saying that He loved us. He proved it.
He showed us by touching a man with leprosy, who was shunned by the community (Luke 5:12-13).
He showed us by kneeling down like a servant to wash His disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17).
Jesus’ ultimate act of love was laying His life down on the cross for sinners–for you and me–so we could have an eternal relationship with God.
True love isn’t about what you can get, it’s about what you can give. It’s an action, not a feeling. It’s the power that can truly make a difference in someone’s life. True love is living less like the world around us and becoming more like Jesus.
We don’t need to fill the aching desires of our hearts with empty casual relationships. We need to fill our hearts with the compassionate love of God, which is a love that never fails–even when we do.
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:18 NIV)
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