Guess what? The Ashley Madison leak has given it so much publicity that the site has boasted a huge record number of first-time members joining since the hacking scandal that sent closet member-Americans into tizzy-town. On the one hand, people are obsessed with secret encounters, even if only in their minds and loins. You know, just playing with the thought of it, while others really give into the encounter with another person. It’s all secret. But, on the other hand, our culture is dominated with selfies for the world to see. In fact, there is an article floating around that builds the case that “selfie obsession” seems to be a mental disorder? I certainly would not push it that far! On the surface, it appears that we are a generation that loves to show ourselves to the world. Not in all cases, like those involved with Ash Mad dot stupid”, but in some. I believe that there is a deeper exploration to the selfie phenomenon. At the heart of it all is that we are longing to attract authentic attention. Do our obsessive taking, editing, and posting of selfies reveal a self-obsession born of insecurity? With all of the selfies that show up online daily, and when all pretending is stripped away, you find that there is actually a search for love.
We are driven by love. We are driven to love. We are even sometimes driven away from love. Love carries the capacity to pull, woo, elude, and torment us, all in one day. Our generation is filled with men who demand sex as a proof of love, and women who give sex in the hope of love. We are learning that physical contact can appear as intimacy, for a minute or two. When sex is an act of love, it’s a gift, but when it is a substitute for love, it’s a trap. This leads me to a little thesis. Cue the bold highlight….
It’s insanity to run from God and search for love.
Our culture’s new wisdom is that sexual freedom is far healthier than moral guidance. The proof is in the results. That is why a girl who is sexually active at age thirteen will be emotionally devastated by age nineteen. Again, it’s insanity to run from God and search for love. On another level, it’s absurd to think that any religious “rule-keeping” could somehow draw humans to God and make Him love us. It’s like being in love with a person who has no interest in you. He loves your advances only because it makes him feel self-important, but he really has no motivation to pursue you.
For centuries, the church has been telling us that if we want God’s love, we have to follow the rules. We have focused on the sin problem, rather than the love problem. So, we see God’s love toward us as all one-sided. God becomes a “cosmic player.” We long for love, but we are convinced, from parental relationships to sex partners to church acquaintances, that all love toward us is conditional. It always ends. We have learned the hard way that conditional love always runs out of fight and fervor and passion. One night stands never really stand for us. So, we falsely conclude that God must be like that also.
Humans just keep playing the never-ending game. Pop star Demi Lovato recently said, “those who run from party to party in their twenties tend to be searching for something. Those who do the same continually in their thirties, forties and beyond are running from something.” What would happen if people would start discovering the real message of Jesus Christ, that the true love of God is unconditional and it is free and NOT one-sided. I mean, would anyone actually choose to keep being “played” in a world of sexual discovery, as well as ritual and legalism in religion? Sadly, the answer is yes. Religion exists not because God loves too little, but because we need love so much.
Solomon, in the Old Testament, described a lover pursuing the one who has won his heart. “Have you seen the one that I love?” is the question that he asks. Solomon is describing the desperation that comes when we seem unable to capture the heart of the one that we love. I wonder if it ever occurs to us that God feels the same way about His pursuit of us?
Religion (dry, dusty legalism) works because we doubt the existence of unconditional love. We must set up rules in order to stay in good standing, so we think. But, players will continue to “play” in bars, clubs, the workplace, and churches, mainly because they don’t believe that real love exists. But, those who taste of the acceptance and love of God immediately stop being “played.” The narrative of the Word of God is that He pursues us with His love, but we keep chasing more flesh in the hope that love lies beneath it all. He sees how players play, never letting their authentic self show up. The player within some humans has to die and the true person must be revealed. God Himself took a selfie as he made man “in His image.” At that moment, the source of all authenticity gave us the ability to be “authentic.”
For in the issues of true love, you can’t send someone else, you have to go yourself.
And Someone did just that.