"Love your enemies," Oscar Wilde once said. "Nothing annoys them so much."
Funny. But take a step back, outside the joke. If the motive is to annoy, it's not so much love at all, is it? Love takes on a cynical, underhanded role. Edgy and brooding. Like the oh-so-irresistible vampire Edward in Twilight.
Of course, this isn't love at all. God is Love (noun), and God loves perfectly (verb), but there are plenty of human perversions of love here on earth -- and this distinction is key for our students to get into their bones as they grow older and are exposed to more of the world.
On a human level, "to love" is not a universal good. "To hate" is not a universal evil. They are verbs, and their value depends on whatever direct objects they're attached to.
- "I love my wife -- which is why I'm going to do the dishes for her, help with the kids, and buy her King Soopers flowers every other Tuesday."
- "I love Fifty Shades of Grey, because I'm attracted to mysterious men whose passion for me makes them want to hurt me so bad."
Both people are loving something. And one of them has a problem that Jesus needs to fix.
- "I hate her, you have no idea. Omg, she thinks she's so cute."
- "I hate lies, I hate consuming lusts, and I pray that God would deliver me from their bondage."
Both people are hating something. And one of them is being godly about it.
As we teach our students at ACA, we want to show them how to make these kinds of basic distinctions. We want to show them how to love like God loves and hate what God hates. Every school subject is packed with controversy, and our children are constantly drawing conclusions about what to love and what to hate. We want them to be lovers -- because God is love -- but not blind lovers. Unless we are making constant, Scriptural distinctions both in the classroom and at home, our children will make no Scriptural decisions when they leave the home.
This, not that. Good, not evil. Sacrifice, not self-interest. Truth, not being cool. Joy, not sorrow.
And God will be faithful.