Weaponizing Love (#618)
Of course, true love cannot be weaponized, though religion often does with what it often calls love. Whenever we think love is the prize we receive when we act "good enough", or we withhold it from people who struggle, we are trying to use love as a weapon. But from God's perspective, love is the environment in which healing and wholeness can happen; it's not the reward for it. Brad and Wayne get into this discussion prowling through the mailbag with some interesting stories from listeners of how God is transforming them. They talk about the destruction of self-righteousness and the anguish it causes others. True love seeks us out at our most broken and opens a door into greater life and freedom.
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Thank you for this podcast and I hope there is further discussion. My son in “full time Christian service” has weaponized his love and has cut me off from any contact with him and his children. There has been no explanation for his behavior. This pattern seems to be rampant in Christian families. There is even a book out called The Christian Guide to No Contact. What is happening?
I’m so sorry Peggy. How horrible. Of course I don’t known details here, but I do know that those who know God only through religious obligation are easily threatened by anyone with a different point of view and to survive they have to control their environment by allowing connection ONLY with those who see the world the way they do. It’s extremely limiting and hurtful to others around them. So sad. Just know this isn’t the end of the story, but just the middle of a chapter.
Thank you for your encouragement. I have not given up hope but I wonder if I am doing the right thing by giving them what they want-no contact. I wait until the Spirit tells me to write him and I do.
Over a decade ago, I was on my way to a Sunday morning service… With my hand on the wheel and turn signal on, His still small voice was quite clear, “Today’s your last day. Now, I am going to show you me.” Was this service the reason I was running into frustration and limitations? NO… The problem was false expectations and religious (read, fleshy!) constructs which existed within me; whether these were of my own design or the cultural environs of my youth and early adulthood did not really matter in the end. Prolonged attachments to find the guilty party were really only rooted in defining who was good and who was evil, clearly not God’s true domain. I did discover – it was love all along. Those expectations have faded and now I can just relax and enjoy our day.
My mother was an alcoholic growing up, I experienced neglect and some abuse and witnessed sometimes her be abused by boyfriends. When I began growing with God in college, the Holy Spirit spoke to me, “she needs Jesus just like anyone else” and He gave me the grace to forgive.
When I left the institution, God took me through a season of counseling…I had time to sit with the Counselor and not be so busy with services. He spoke to me when I went before Him with raw honesty in painful times, “it’s not your mother you want to go away, it’s the pain you want to go away” I also felt Him possibly show me to call her mother and not mom in my own mind as that helped me not have expectations that come with intimacy of a mom. He showed me how to have boundaries but still be in as much connection as I can and continue a journey of love as much as we can. I am able to honor her strengths and who God has created her to be.
When it’s a parent though…it’s challenging I think to let go of those expectations of what one thinks a parent is supposed to be. In my world I have had to let go of expectations so I don’t get hurt, I consider her a beautiful beautiful inside and out woman, extremely gifted in many areas and many strengths and I am blessed by many of those in my life but I don’t consider her a mom in the fact of someone I can go to to pour out my heart or to help babysit my kids, or go to for whatever might be normal for a daughter to go to her mom for (but then again what is “normal”)
For my own heart I think of her as my biological mother so I don’t get let down and have false expectations for her to be a mom to me…and I forgive and I see her as another person to love and be thankful for the times I get blessed from her. I like what the Holy Spirit spoke to Harvey to let go of what you want them to be and like who they are…for me that takes forgiveness to the parent for not being a parent and then thankfulness for all the blessings they are.
Also the topic of having loving boundaries that are trying to keep as much relationship as possible versus “weaponzied Love” that demands performance or be rejected could be added to the discussion.
Wow, guys, you hit on a ‘biggie’ this week. A crescendo for the last few podcasts. Using love as a weapon is simply the natural extension of “exploiting a vulnerability in the human psyche,” as was engineered into Facebook. These things should not surprise us. Shame has ruled the human race since the garden. Governments of voters have been using these tactics for a few centuries now. The church has been doing the same for a couple millennia. Somehow, we don’t realize that shame or law is exactly what Jesus came to set us free from, but we embrace it.
It’s all about leveraging shame to manipulate. It’s a whole paradigm that we grow up in and get comfortable with. My birth family had it in spades. My church family reveled in it on a larger scale. Now it’s even overrun my marriage and home life. This version is called ‘tough love,’ and you must dole it out, or you are ‘enabling.’ Holding back love, or affection, as a form of punishment. To me, it’s the cruelest entity on the planet, because it puts enmity between persons, and removes any possibility of relationship. (or reconciliation)
Thankfully, mercifully, God does things totally opposite. First, he restores and creates a brand new relational reality, based on “God IS Love.” That erases every hint of ‘merit’ or ‘deserve’ or ‘earn.’ That ‘love cocoon’ is the environment where transformation happens. Without the interrelationship, there is no Life, and certainly no transformation. The best we can ever do is get really good at faking it. Blessed are those who get tired of faking it.
The God I am coming to know has never manipulated or coerced me, and I’m beginning to trust that he never will. Although sometimes I wish he would, because that’s the ‘life’ I’m all too familiar with. That lifestyle and mindset are so ingrained in me, that it’s difficult to let go. Mercy and Grace and True Love are very hard to believe. Only he can make a believer out of me, by unfolding these realities into my heart.
I was encouraged by this quote: “let go of the person you want him to be, so you can appreciate the person he is.” Put your own name in there, then God, or anyone else around you. To embrace something new, you must let go of whatever you are holding on to now.
Thanks Craig…very well expressed.
I looked up the book “The Christian Guide to No Contact.” ( I skimmed the little bit of text Amazon had of it). It looks like a book meant to do a good thing – to protect people from abusive family members. The advice may seem extreme and some may be extreme in various circumstances, but it is meant to deal with extreme people. Of course – I assume it (like the Bible) could be used for bad purposes.