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Madagascar and Unconditional Love versus Romantic Love

Last night I went and saw Madagascar II with my wife and kids.  Though there were a couple of things that were over the top they were fortunately things my kids didn’t think twice about.  Still, wish they wouldn’t do that.  Anyway, there was this one scene that got me thinking.  The scene is where hunk hippo Moto Moto is asked by New York Girl hippo Gloria ‘Why do you like me?”

How about some background first?

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

For another relevant vid see this one here, but unfortunately its just the music- but the lyrics exhibit what I’m talking about.

Why do we love the people we love?  There are various schools of thought.  I am going to focus on a Biblical school of thought.  It is a Christian blog, after all.  It is my position that if the world saw more love as the Bible presents it this world would be transformed.  But this isn’t about that.

After Moto Moto flatters Gloria about her chunkiness, “guuurl, you so big…” Gloria wants to know if that is it, is that her only appeal to Moto Moto.  He, of course is stumped.  Guys understand.

I will contend that the right answer to “Why do you love me?” is “For no reason at all.”  This is in fact the answer I gave to my girlfriend in college, with predictable results.  She was offended and hurt and thought it was extremely unromantic- as in, the opposite of romantic!  And then I explained:  “If I loved you for a reason than if that reason was stripped away you would wonder if I still loved you, and if all I ever gave you were reasons that were based on circumstances, there would always be the possibility that those circumstances would change.  You know I think you are beautiful- I’ve told you a thousand times- but that is not why I love you.  If you are ever in a burning car wreck and your beauty is blotted out forever I will still love you, because that is not why I love you.  I love you unconditionally, which means, for no reason at all.”

If you ask me, that is the essence of real, genuine romance.  (BTW, the girlfriend married me 🙂  )

This, I believe, is the kind of love that God shows us and we have been called to imitate (Eph. 5:1-2) and to the best of my ability I try.

This does not mean of course that there aren’t other things going on- physical attraction, etc.  But these are not love. Affection is not love.  If it were, you could never obey Jesus’ command to love your enemies.  Biblical Love is a deliberate act of the will to seek the best interests of another, possibly (though not necessarily) at the expense of your own interests.  This may bring you joy and pleasure but it may not.  And ‘best interests’ doesn’t always mean soft talk or leaving someone to wander in their delusions.  Biblical Love is tough- or gentle- as the need requires it.

But it is unconditional, with no reason at all, or else it is not Biblical Love.

We have our pattern in God through Christ, as described in Eph 5 which I already mentioned but also in Romans 5:

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (vs 6-8)

So, why do you love the people you love?

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