“I … I love you like a love song baby. I … I love you like a love song baby. And I keep hitting repeat – peat – peat – peat – peat.”
As this new song by Selena Gomez was playing through my head on repeat – peat – peat – peat – peat it occurred to me “I don’t even know what that means! Does Justin Beiber know what it means? Does Selena tell her boyfriend these kinds of things?”
Now I’ve heard plenty of similes.
I’ve heard “I love you like a fat kid loves chocolate cake” and “I love you like a monkey loves bananas.” But “love you like a love song” is a little vague. So I looked at some of the popular love songs on the radio right now. Here’s what I found.
Drugs, Dirt, Demands and … Aliens?
Even though the guy “might sell coke” Nikki Minaj says he’s got her heartbeat running away, beating like a drum.
“I wanna go all the way, wanna show all the dirt that’s been on my mind” says Britney.
Pitbull is pretty demanding in his love song – “I want you tonight. Give me everything tonight.”
And of course the love song to an alien. Because that makes sense. That’s something every girl’s wishing for – prince charming from Mars. “Infect me with your loving, fill me with your poison”
I guess after listening to those love songs I’m even more confused by what Selena means. That can’t be true love. There’s got to more. There just has to be a better love song.
What is love?
We read in 1 John 4:8 that God is love. At first, that might sound like just another song lyric or simile but what it really means is that all true love is actually an experience of God Himself. So if we want to know what true love is, a great way to find out is by getting to know God better. And we get to know God through prayer, the sacraments and the Bible.
There’s a book of the Bible that’s like the highest love song of all. Which is ironic because it’s called “Song of Songs.” You can read this book as if it’s God’s love song to each one of us. Listen to what He says:
“You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride … How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride. Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm, for strong as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion, its flames a blazing fire” (Song of Songs 4:9 – 10, 8:6)
When my girlfriends and I read this, it makes perfect sense. We want a guy who is going to comfort and protect us. Someone who is strong and sees us not only as a bride, but also a true friend and companion – like a sister.
For the guys though, this verse is all about God showing you a picture of the honorable warrior. This is a lover who isn’t out to use and abuse like those other love songs talk about. He’s ready to sacrifice for the one he loves.
I love you like …
When it comes to love and relationships then, I don’t think I want to learn how to love from Pitbull, Britney, Nikki or Katy. When God says “I love you like …” this is how His love is:
“Love is patient,
Love is kind.
It is not jealous,
Love is not pompous,
It is not inflated,
It is not rude,
It does not seek its own interests,
It is not quick-tempered,
It does not brood over injury,
It does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
Hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Do you see what God’s getting at here? This kind of love isn’t just about “me, me, me” like the recent love songs on the radio. That kind of love falls a little short of this “ideal” love of God doesn’t it? His love seems pretty counter – cultural and epic to me!
Now I’m not saying I know what Selena had in mind when she recorded this song. But I think it’s ok if we interpret it this way. So now when it plays on repeat – peat – peat – peat – peat in your head, it can be a reminder of God’s “love as strong as death.” A love that lays down its life for the loved one. (John 15:13)
Can you love the people in your life like that?