The talk of the nation seems to be focusing on the season finale of “The Bachelor” that aired a few weeks ago.
For those of you who don’t know the premise, its a simple reality show in which a bachelor spends two months with a few dozen female contestants. He eliminates each one until he’s left with the lucky gal he hopes to marry.
Ridiculous, I know — but very addictive.
This particular finale was a whopper. Although the bachelor found Miss Probably-Right, he refused to offer either an engagement ring (the highlight of every finale!) and a heart-warming, “I love you.”
The show’s host spent 10 minutes trying to get the bachelor to say those three simple words. It was clear that the winning damsel in distress loves him; why couldn’t he say the same about her?
My wife and I thought he was actually being smart in the situation. He cared enough for her — and the wishes of her father — to take things slow. In a previous era, that kind of sentiment was called chivalry.
That wasn’t good enough for the studio audience, who apparently forgot that, of the previous 12 seasons of the show, only three bachelors got married. The rest broke up in less than a year.
With statistics like that, I would take things slow, too.
Perhaps the real victim of this show was not the lovely lady. Nor was it the one whose wife refused to turn the channel to see what better shows were on. The real victim of all this is our notion of love.
Have we as a society become so shallow and so driven by sensuality that we think we can find love on a reality show?
I bet that if you surveyed 100 people, a majority of them would not opt to find love on television.
It’s the parade of the few that makes a parody of us all. Do we ever get love right?
Throughout the Bible, God repeatedly tries to convince the people of Israel that He loves them with a compassionate, “everlasting love.” It is a type of self-sacrificial love that is not as fleeting as the emotional type of love we sometimes mistake for the real thing.
God loved us so much that God became human for our behalf. In the person of Jesus, God bridged heaven and earth, suffered, died, and lived in flesh-and-blood just to prove how much love He has for us.
The first epistle of John, often called a love letter to the church, says this about love:
“We know love by this, that Jesus laid down his life for us — and we ought to lay down our lives for one another” (3:16).
Have you ever sat by the bedside of a person who is ill or facing hardships? It’s hard to be present, and its harder still to “know” what he or she is going through. We try to be a comforting friend, but we really find it difficult to relate to the situations in which some people find themselves.
God loves us so much, that God was willing to “know” what we all go through. God was willing to sacrifice everything just to prove this love for us.
In response, we are called not to continue in the charade that is covetous love. We do not need to search for love from some model-quality companion; we just need to take God at God’s word.
We are also called to follow God’s example and put love into action for the sake of others. We are, as John states, to “love in truth and action” (3:18).
Perhaps this is the logic of this season’s bachelor. I hope that he is refraining from saying those three big words because he knows that they are not as meaningful as the action of love. Well, we can only hope.
The Rev. Joe LaGuardia is the senior pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, 301 Honey Creek Road, Conyers. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.trinityconyers.org.