The Misleading Nature Of "Love Is Love"

This post is not something that I intended to write, but something that I felt needed to be written. There are several things that led to the creation of this post. First is the fact that it is near the end of May, meaning that June is just around the corner. It won't be any time at all before companies of all sizes start trotting out trite phrases like the one in the title of this blog post, all in support of normalizing sexual immorality (and making a quick buck while they are at it). Second, I was made aware only a couple of days ago that someone I know (who will remain nameless, for his sake) has essentially abandoned his wife and son to live a sexually immoral lifestyle. Third, I have noticed more people defending the concept behind the statement in the title of this blog. All of this has led me to share my thoughts on this.

You may be wondering why I mentioned the second item above. There are a couple of reasons. First, I am hoping that my friend will see this and amend his ways. Second, my friend is making the same assumption that many people make when they say "love is love." Although I am not aware of my friend using this exact phrase, his line of reasoning is very similar to those who do throw this phrase out. However, this line of reasoning is fatally flawed.

Those who claim that "love is love" are, in essence, claiming that every kind of love is the same as every other kind of love. However, this is not the case. There is a good reason why the Koine Greek uses multiple words for love. Each word, thankfully, emphasizes a different aspect of love. Each type of love is appropriate in certain situations and inappropriate in others. For example, brotherly love (phileo) is appropriate for members of the same sex (or even the opposite sex) who, perhaps, share hobbies, interests, and talents. It would be wholly inappropriate for a marriage to stop at a "phileo" type of love.

This concept can be extended to the other kinds of love that the Greek language emphasizes. While love of a sexual nature (eros) is wholly appropriate between men and women who are married to one another, it is wholly inappropriate for persons of the same sex, or those who are merely friends. In short, what I am trying to emphasize is that each kind of love has an appropriate context. To go outside the bounds of the appropriate context is to do harm, not good.

Perhaps I can use an illustration to make my point. Imagine for a minute that I invited you over to my house for dinner. When you arrived, dinner was on the table, and we were ready to eat. I ask you if you would like a glass of water. "Of course!" You reply. You then watch me take your glass, fill it with water from the commode, and then offer it to you. Would you drink it? Of course not! You realize that each type of water has its own "appropriate context," so to speak. Water from the commode is not for drinking! In short, it is acceptable to have a brotherly love toward people of the same sex. This is healthy and normal, because that is the appropriate context for such love. David had this kind of love toward Jonathan. The disciples had this kind of love toward one another. What is inappropriate is taking eros from the context of marriage between one man and one woman for life, and treating it as though it were intended for something outside of that sacred bond.

In short, the important point is that not all loves are identical. Trying to normalize eros outside of its context of heterosexual marriage is as foolish as trying to normalize the drinking of toilet water. It doesn't make sense to do so, and it will ultimately be harmful in the long run. Those who repeat the phrase "love is love" without giving it much thought are ultimately causing more harm than good. In the meantime, the Church should stand up and make it abundantly clear that certain things are appropriate in certain contexts, and inappropriate outside of those contexts.


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