I am working on a concept that might role into a thesis type document about a form of love that has planted itself in Christianity.  I call it “legislated love.”  I am throwing this out to you for comment and discussion.  I am really interested in hearing your thoughts.

Here is the premise:  Jesus takes the law and sums it up in two parts.  He says “love God” and “love your neighbor.”  We see all throughout the gospels and on into the various epistles an emphasis on the kingdom of God having the foundation of love.  Paul describes the fruit of the spirt (by the way it is only one fruit, not fruits) as love with the many definers that follow.  He goes on to say that against such there is no law. 

Stay on target a minute.  Love comes from the Holy Spirit.  Jesus describes his kingdom as love.  Now, we are told to:  love our enemies, love our wives, love our neighbors and so on.  Without any questions the western mindset has major issues as to what actually defines “love.”  The Scriptures point out that love is “laying down our life for another.”  This is all done in the context that while the law is defines as love God and love neighbor, it allows us to see the law as a means to love God and our neighbor.  We don’t steal.  We don’t chase after another mans wife and so on.  That is loving your neighbor.

But, there is alot more to love that moves us from law abiders as love to moving into “laying down our lives.”  That is a gospel issue.  That needs much discussion.

Now, here we go…as I meet and get to know more and more Christians I find often and usually with the husbands there is this expected love that is demanded from the wives under the word “submit.”  There is actually a book out the says women are to submit so their husbands can and will love them.  Once again, a “legislation” of the concept of love.  Don’t worry ladies you are not off the hook.  Wives have a legislated love as well.  It is surrounded by their desire to be “the queen” and inward need of “security.”  Thus, while men demand that love be expressed by a woman to meet his needs (you know where that one will go), a woman does the same. 

Meanwhile, the lists and the demands don’t work.  Once a husband and a wife have a list of what love has to look like for them, we have all missed the boat.  The problem…we have the lists.  We are legislating the love.  The crazy thing is we are legislating the love to be something called “Biblical” while at at the same time legislating how someone is to love me. 

Over time if I am not loved the way I want to be than a wall is built and often the spouse cannot ever satisfy the demands to overcome the wall since by now there have been so many things attanched to it. 

In some respects movies and a very magnfied romantic love has swayed the concept of “laying our lives down for the sake of another.”  It gets worse.  Once this pattern is established in the parents, it filters down to the kids.  Thus we become more angry with them when they somehow don’t quite get what I want done to know you love me.  It is easier to manipulate the kids to get the love I feel I am not getting from others which is usually my spouse.  Thus we see unhealthy parent to children relationships which usually result in a spoiled, demanding, narcissistic form of love. 

So…that is just the introduction.  I could bore you with a lot more introductory thought.  I am interested in what you might think.  Maybe I am off my cracker.  End of the day, when love is legislated, grace (the engine of love) has a  hard time winning the day.  But, honestly, we tend to resort back to “the list.”  We resort to it so bad we are unable to see how someone is loving me.  I know all about the 5 love languages.  Yes, we give and receive love differntly.  However, when I demand love my way, is that “laying down my life for another?” 

Comment away…this could get interesting.  Either that, or I have been out in the sun too long.