After Valentine’s Day I looked at the Thesaurus’ meanings for romance. As you do! I was surprised by its many uses and particularly to describe someone as a “fantastic liar.” Well so much for romance. The Bible doesn’t use the word “romance” but rather speaks of love which God carefully described for a world that uses it so carelessly. I say, “described”, because it is impossible to define love without describing it in terms of its actions. It is why I find the Bible so helpful and have put my faith in its content and the God who has given it to us.
Now there may be an outcry among the readers at this point, “Faith is just a blind leap!”
Such an outcry reflects a lack in understanding of faith. You can’t live without faith and it certainly is not blind. A man loves his wife and trusts her by faith. Is that faith blind? Not at all. Can he prove that his wife is faithful to him? No he can’t, but he exercises faith or trust in her by virtue of his lived through experience of her faithfulness. The truth of her love stands the test of time. Similarly, when you give a teenager some freedom you do so because you have faith that they will do the right thing. If you had no such faith then out of love for everyone you would not extend that freedom to the teenager. That’s worth a teenager remembering if they want their parents to give them some freedom.
So many things demand faith and love. The big question is how do I determine what my faith should be in?
On my way home from Mungindi recently, I was introduced to “Fake News”. To my surprise it even has a Wikipedia page. Now I know people tell lies and there is nothing new in that, but to be confronted with the uncomfortable truth that people would fake news to win support or ruin another, really creates problems for faith. What does one believe when it comes to global warming, human sexuality, economic security and political leadership when you are confronted with “fake news”? How do you respond when results are manipulated to attract funding? What happens when you realise the romantic is a fantastic liar and not a lover at all? What do you do when the only one you think you can put faith in is yourself and you keep letting yourself down? Where can we go once people fake news and lie to simply get their own way? I know it sounds childish that people would behave like this but welcome to the kindergarten of humanity.
You can’t throw off faith. Society is established on faith. A society can’t succeed where trust is lost and when trust is lost, love will be lost with it. It’s why the person bitten by the fantastic liar in romance finds it so hard to give themselves in love and to trust another again.
Our age is facing a crisis of truth. The sadness is that we have a lived through proof of the reliability of the Bible as it has influenced our history, transformed people’s lives and built community. In its pages, and in the person of Jesus Christ, it emphasises truth and acts of selfless, sacrificial love. Conversely, in our crisis with truth we suffer the wooing of romantics who can’t be trusted and destroy community with their faithless, loveless behaviour.
Is there hope? Well for those who would consider the Bible it offers three extraordinary gifts, “faith, hope and love.” The Bible says the greatest of all these is love. My reflection on why it’s the greatest is this: for love to be love it must firstly be faithful and when love is faithful it holds out hope for all that is good.
Every day people must wade through the news wondering if it is fake. The alternative is to wade through good news which God offers in His Son and our rescuer, Jesus Christ. That’s good news which has stood the test of time.
Armidale Anglican Diocese