False Dichotomy, or So is that why they're called "in-laws"?
is easy to think that the law is the opposite of love.The law is unyielding, impersonal, and
irrespective of any circumstance.Love
is human, personal, and particular.It
is easy to figure out which one we like better, and which we want more of.
am inclined to agree, so I cannot get my head around how the Israelites loved
their Law, the Commandments God gave them: And
what great nation is there, that has statutes and ordinances so righteous as
all this law? (Dt 4:8)But that is
so old school... so Old Testament,
even.Love is the measure of all
things now, and even Jesus himself would endorse that, right?
course Jesus did say, Think not that I
have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them
but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away,
not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.(Mt 5:17-18)
love is to choose freely the good of the other, and the highest love is to
choose to relinquish every good for oneself in order to sustain the good of the
other.Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his
friends. (John 15:13)In
order to be able to choose the good, in order to be able to love, freedom is
is then a prerequisite for love, a “condition for the possibility” as we say,
or a sine qua non – “without which
not.”The sine qua non of love is freedom.Coercion, privation, deception, and
manipulation cannot bring about love; on the contrary - they mitigate against
then, makes freedom possible? Our practical experience as a nation seconds what
we have been taught by the revelation of God: Law is the precondition for
freedom.Think about it first in civic
terms – think about the freedom of citizens being achieved by the law, and the
absence of law undermining citizens’ freedom.Then realize how the absence of civic freedom would reduce the
possibility of social love, a society of neighborly charity; not to mention personal
acts of love.Believe it or not, law is
the sine qua non of love.
that civic scenario, make the leap to the love revealed and offered in Christ,
and you begin to understand not only why Jesus asserted that he came not to
abolish the Law, but to fulfill it; but you also begin to realize why God first
gave the Law in working His will for the salvation of man, and then sent His
Son, the God who is Love incarnate, in the flesh.
Law orders our lives before it orders society; it orders our deeds and words to
God and our neighbor, the practical steps essential to love, the work that love
does.This fabric of thought, word, and
deed is the precondition of authentic love of God and of neighbor.Just as in our blessed nation, the law is the
shaper and guarantor of our freedom, so is God’s Law of the Commandments the
shaper and guarantor of our freedom.It
is foolish to think that we can love God without obeying His Law.The Law, and our observance of it, set our
feet on the path to love.
two types of law diverge where they are broken.Break a civil law, and pay the consequences – privation or punishment. A
government that fails to enforce the law, fails to protect freedom, and thereby
fails to govern.But break the Law of
God, sin against Him or our neighbor, and God reaches out to us for
reconciliation, offering His Son to pay the price.This highest love we can receive only by recognizing
and repenting of our disobedience.
law got to do, got to do with it? to paraphrase the old Tina Turner song.Without the Law, we would never know how to love, much less be able to love.The law is not the opposite of love, but what
makes it possible -- for a society, and for a soul.