I love the way Bob Goff writes. “Love Does” was a great book for me. It encouraged me to seek out extravagant ways to love without condition (I’m not good at it yet, but still trying). He continues to write great things and inspire people to greater love. However, I don’t always agree with what he has to say.
Take this tweet for example:
On first blush… YES! It resonates with how we think it should be. For you to really love me, you should only care about my outcome and not your own. It just, feels, right. It’s also a natural extension of what we’ve seen and been told. Our own self interests are so often a hindrance to loving those around us.
I think this statement can be used for good. I think it can be an encouragement to ensure your motives are pure in your attempts to love others. However, I also think it could be taken to an extreme and warp our view of love.
Let’s start with one glaring problem with this statement. Basically, it says, it’s not love if there’s an agenda. What about God? There are a ton of verses that end with things like:
Yet he saved them for his name’s sake that he might make known his mighty power. ~ Psalm 106:8
So since God had an agenda, He wasn’t loving the people? God cares about the outcome. He is concerned with how the story goes, and He is entirely loving. He IS love.
In John Piper’s discussions on Christian Hedonism, he points out that God has created within us certain desires. Chief of which is the desire for joy. In the Bible, God doesn’t tell us to squash or ignore our desire and do what we’re told anyway. He tells us to seek out what gives the greatest joy.
As C.S. Lewis pointed out,
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
So, while this beautiful Bob Goff quote can be helpful in some context, I think it falls far short. It sets the goal on a weak, imaginary version of love. A love that does loving things just to do loving things. The love that God has for us is driven by desire and purposeful. The hunger to spend eternity with us. The motive to grow closer and build relationship. There is an agenda in God’s love.
That’s the love I want.