Are You Trapped in Lukewarm Love?
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”
When I first read this passage I was always unsure of why Christ is so direct with his detest for lukewarm love. Why wouldn’t being ‘cold’ or actively hating him be worse?
But then I realized that it is similar to a situation that I’m sure many of us have either been in, or witnessed. It is the relationship where one person is deeply in love and committed and yearning for the other to return their love, but the other person is completely indifferent. The indifferent person doesn’t respect the one they are dating enough to just break up with them, but instead keeps them around, and that’s it. They put no effort in, they don’t return affection, they simply do just enough to keep the other hanging on. This is lukewarm love. With hot or cold at least it is clear where the person stands, but with lukewarm it is complete confusion and non-committing.
This type of love is miserable! It’s one sided, it’s bland, it’s empty, it’s tiring, and it is NOT the love that we are made for.
We are made to be passionately loved—we all long for it. Why do you think Hollywood makes so much money off of love stories? They may have the idea of romance wrong, but they are very correct in targeting the fact that we all have this longing for deep and passionate love. We want a love that says:
‘You are special’
‘You are my one true love’
‘You are the most beautiful to me’
‘I would do anything for you’
‘I will always be here for you’
Ultimately, a love like Christ’s love for us—one willing to suffer and die, all for the sake of His Beloved. A lukewarm lover would never do this.
This form of lukewarm love has become more easily recognized in our world today, but the problem is that a new, covert form of lukewarmness has infiltrated many relationships. It disguises itself so well as passionate love, but is really distorted passions that prevent deeper love from taking place. This type of lukewarm love is the type of love that we see most often, the love that Hollywood often portrays. It is a love that strips a human being down to just a body, and says that to romance someone is to seduce them, and to love them is to prove it with your body. The true love we seek is promised to us as a consequence of sexual love, but this order of attaining sex and then love is completely backward.
This lukewarm love is considered ‘hot’ and ‘passionate’ by society, yet it is truly lukewarm in nature because it is meaningless. Just as the relationship above is meaningless without the commitment, the heart, and the love of both involved, this sexualized culture outside of marriage is lacking commitment and depth and heart as well. The act that expresses ‘I am fully yours’ has been separated from the vows that say ‘I am fully yours.’ We have removed love from sex by removing it from the only situation in which it is true—the sacrament in which you truly have given your heart and life to the person that you now give your body to. In marriage it is a whole gift; not merely a partial, half-hearted, lukewarm one.
The truth of this lukewarmness is not easily felt. In the moment you feel attraction, you feel the biological pull, and we have been taught that these feelings are love. But the lukewarmness is felt when these moments are gone. When you lay alone at night, or look at your life as a whole and see the misalignment. It is felt when you feel you have to alter your body to prevent life, or when you worry about the future, and fidelity of the one you love. It is felt when you realize you know more of that person’s body than you do their heart, their thoughts, and their life.
Just like Christ, this is not the love you seek. You are made to be passionately loved for the whole of all of that you are, in all of your depth. So please, decide today not to settle for lukewarm love. Let Christ show you that you are made for so much more, and slowly you will begin to see it too.