A rough diagnostic of our times lies ready at hand in the profile of those whom we choose to admire.
Our celebrities and our fads are a projection of our values and our desires. Like a modern pantheon, we paint them upon a canvas as peoples choose their deities. If we are not exactly what we worship, we at least aspire to become like the gods we have created for our service. Created to worship someone or some thing, we cannot escape this dynamic nor its determining logic unless we worship our Creator himself. But he demands so much, so we settle.
The prevailing mood of our celebrities and fads is ironic detachment or its cousin, a studied nonchalance about life.
Nothing could be further from the character of love itself.
Love does not willingly allow its object to be less than it can be. Even as it gives—self-sacrificially, it gives—it requires and demands. It spurs its beloved object on, wants the best for it even if this holy longing creates pain.
He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
Love engenders a thousand costumed counterfeits. Love is followed about by a throng of wannabes, some brilliant, some pathetic.
Few of them commit to the long journey of costly giving and costly requiring. Such relationship is too dense for the imposter, who wants the sweet fruit of love with none of the pruning, the growing, the exertion that in time generates a harvest.
In a proverb as short as the one quoted above and in discourses long enough to border on tedium, the Bible both assumes the costly demandingness of love and instructs us to engage it for the duration of our lifetimes.
To allow the one we claim to love to stagnate in mediocrity or to languish in depravity is love in name alone. We do not control the outcome of those we love, yet we dare to cause them pain if the direction they set for themselves is less than they can become.
A prevailing ethic of nonchalance—in reality such a posture is more posed than ethical—knows nothing of such costly, requiring love. It is self-referential rather than directed towards the compelling good of the other. It has no stomach for the battle that love requires in its quest for nothing less than what can be in the person on whom it has fixed its sights or to whom blood has bound it.
Love is not lazy.