Are you vaccinated? This question is a really hot topic in our current world, and there seem to be very strong opinions on each side of this question and no shortage of intensity, criticism nor reactions. The answer to this question has broken apart families, caused job promotions, continuity and losses, created internal angst and created conflicts and divisions in our society and country. So vaccinations, and specifically Covid vaccinations, are a really hot subject for debates and discussion.
At the same time, I’d like to use this vaccination subject as a springboard for discussing genuine love. I’d like to invite you, in the vaccination context, to look at the possibility that we might have unknowingly been vaccinated against genuine love. I’m hoping that as you just read that sentence, it’s creating curiosity in your thoughts and not just resistance or reaction. To think about the possibility that you’ve been vaccinated against genuine love, let’s remember some basic building blocks that go into the vaccination subject.
As an overall refresher, the purpose of a vaccination is to help a person develop immunity against disease by introducing a small piece of the disease into a person’s body so the immune system can create antibodies. The introduction of this small piece of the disease helps our immune system to develop the antibodies to fight off a possible bigger exposure to the disease.
In relation to our bodies fighting off diseases from the development of antibodies, perhaps Satan has introduced into our lives the presence of synthetic love such that we have created antibodies to resist genuine love? What might be synthetic love in contrast to genuine love? I would suggest that synthetic love is anything that looks like love but is not real in substance. For example, we might think that our human relationships are steady experiences for genuine love, only to recognize that human love is finite, inconsistent and can be fickle and consequently synthetic. It might feel and look like genuine love, but it is not. I also recognize that God can express genuine love through a human, but it’s important to keep our focus on the source and not merely the conduit.
I would also suggest that Satan has utilized various experiences to vaccinate you against genuine love. To be sure, such hurtful experiences don’t have genuine love in them, but we can often become highly protective—shielding ourselves from further pain. Unfortunately, sometimes our protective instincts can also vaccinate us from experiencing genuine love. Some of the experiences that Satan has used could include heartbreak, broken relationships, childhood trauma, deception, shame, accusation or even an imitation of love. These kinds of things can be springboards for Satan to facilitate protective defenses in our thoughts and outlook to make us cold, brittle and resistant to genuine love. We protect ourselves from pain but also build up protections that shield us from experiencing and living in genuine love.
Let’s recognize that Satan would like nothing more than to separate us from genuine love, to disconnect us from living in the reality of God loving us. In Romans 8:31-39, we read that nothing can separate us from God’s love, so let’s be committed to live in that truth! To help us do that, let’s disagree with Satan and agree with God Who is genuine love, as we read in 1 John 4:16.
If we recognize that God is genuine love, then it could be helpful to consider Who God is in our daily living, based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Let’s look at this in The Passion Translation to see Who genuine love is in our modern vernacular.
Genuine love “ . . . is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.”
As you have read through these verses, please take a moment to consider the possibility that you might have been vaccinated by the enemy against Genuine Love. If you’ve been vaccinated by the enemy who uses hurts and synthetic love, please take some daily time over the next week to read the verses in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 to get more wholly grounded in God loving you!