We live in a culture that is constantly talking about love, lust, sex, and romance.
It’s hard to get away from, honestly. You can barely turn on the TV, walk around the mall, or glance at a billboard without being assaulted by it. Of course, the mere fact that culture is vocal about it is not the problem. It’s an important conversation to have, for sure. The Bible itself frequently talks about it, revealing God’s concern for it.
The problem is what culture says about love, lust, sex, and romance. Unlike Scripture, culture is driven by a sinful and emotional perspective which feeds us lies that damage and pervert this beautiful gift. Here are 10 of the dominant lies culture tells us.
1. Love is lust.
The picture of true love that culture paints for us is nothing more than a cheap Polaroid of lust. Watch a modern sit-com or rom-com, and you’ll see this spelled out plainly in the portrayal of our hookup culture and the ubiquity of sex before marriage. Love is not steadfast, faithful, and forever. It is selfish, fickle, and feeling-fueled.
2. Romance is eternally satisfying.
Romantic love is idolized as a god that brings deepest satisfaction. Culture tries to convince us that relationships are what fulfill us and that significant others are saviors. But humans are sinful and incapable of satisfying our restlessness for meaning, purpose, and acceptance. Romance doesn’t have the power to save.
3. Boundaries are legalistic.
To our society, purity and abstinence are retrograded, prudish words for an ancient world. We are modern. We are liberated. That means boundaries are obsolete. Legalism has no place in love. Yet they don’t realize that boundaries are actually an expression of love. Boundaries exist to protect. Boundaries exist so purity can flourish and thrive. Boundaries are for our good.
4. Follow your heart.
Perhaps no lie is so pervasive or destructive as this one. We’re told: if it feels good, do it. Take a risk, take a chance, live in the moment. As long as you’re doing whatever you want to, you’ll be happy. Surely the prophet Jeremiah would disagree: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
5. Sex doesn’t have any consequences.
You can give your body and mind completely to another person – and walk away like it never happened. This is a subtle lie woven throughout many of culture’s narratives (think movies, shows, books). Yet sex is an act God created for one man and one woman to participate in within the sacred confines of a covenant marriage relationship. Two become one flesh, a physical union to represent the emotional and spiritual one. Despite culture’s cry, sex has long-term consequences, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
6. You have to date a lot.
To find “The One,” society expects teenagers to date and date and date until they find them. Dating is what we do. It’s pushed and pressured. There’s a lady at my church who has been half-jokingly asking me for years if I have a boyfriend. The answer’s still no. I’m convinced that teen serial dating is not the path to true romance.
7. Marriage is the Ideal.
Singleness is sad, culture says. If you’re not in a relationship, you must want to be in one. And of course, everybody wants to be married. That’s the ultimate, the pinnacle, the moment you’ve reached life perfection. I’ve even seen this lie steal into the church. Marriage is idealized and idolized and the important season of singleness minimized. That’s neither fair, nor biblical (1 Cor. 7:8).
8. Parents shouldn’t be involved in your love life.
It’s so uncool for young people to have their parents hold them accountable, talk to them about love and sex, or put restrictions and guidelines into place. How stifling. How babyish. Yet this is exactly the model Scripture gives us – parents training their teens to grow up and pursue healthy romantic relationships. Culture would want you to be ashamed of your parents’ involvement in your love life. God would want you to be gratefully joyful of it.
9. The Bible doesn’t speak into modern love.
Culture considers the Bible’s norms and instructions regarding love, sex, and marriage to be repressive and tyrannical. It speaks into ancient relationships, fine, but it has no place in the contemporary world. What a tragically flawed view. The Bible speaks into every area of life – even, dare I say especially, love.
Read the Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Ruth, 1 and 2 Timothy, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians. Read the whole Bible, and you’ll find principles and practices and failures and instructions on godly love and relationships. Romance is a pretty big deal, and God is not silent on it. Don’t let culture tell you otherwise.
10. You were made to love (people).
That sounds good, right? That we were created for the glorious purpose of loving others? It likely sounds good because it’s got some truth in it. God did create us with the capacity and desire to love others. But first and foremost, He created us to love Him. We were made for God, not humans. The deeply-rooted, unfailing, everlasting love our hearts crave is only found in Him.
No matter what culture says.