Weaponized Love

No, you can’t really!  The title above should be the oxymoron of all oxymorons.

There’s nothing about real love that can be made into a weapon. But that doesn’t keep people from trying, especially scared parents and religious people.

They turn their twisted view of love into a weapon. When you’ve done enough, especially the things they think you should do, they will love you. When you don’t, they will not only withhold affection from you, they’ll resort to whatever means they have at their disposal to get you to change. They’ll give you the cold shoulder or disapproving glance. They will gossip about you with other family members. That will rant and rave until you conform to their desires. They will should all over you thinking that increasing levels of obnoxiousness will endear you to their point of view.

Sadly, sometimes it even works. Some people would rather give in to the manipulations of those they care about, than continue to endure their contempt or disdain. But even when people meet those expectations, love doesn’t grow. Resentment does. Feeling forced into change is not really change, and the never feel loved by doing so. They just get the money off of their backs.

That’s because true love cannot be weaponized. Why do religious people do it? Because they have been taught God does. He loves us all, sure, but he only gives his love to those who have earned it. If you think that’s true, you will do all you can to get in his good graces. And, when he doesn’t respond the way you think he should, you can still blame yourself for not having done “enough” to qualify for his love. It’s a horribly frustrating place to live and it will wear you out trying to do so. That’s why those people turn it on others thinking they are doing God a favor.

But God’s love cannot be weaponized. It’s never the incentive to change; it is the environment in which healing happens. Every sin and broken place in our lives is caused by us living as if we are not loved by the Creator. But we are! Deliciously! Extravagantly! Overwhelmingly. We just don’t know it.

He never uses his love as a reward because it is always there for us. It doesn’t rise and fall with our performance. We can ignore it, even reject it, but we’ll be no less loved. He knows that his love is the starting place to follow him out of the darkness and into his light and freedom.

So, don’t think someone is loving you when they are manipulating you to do what they think is best to earn their affection. That’s not love, at least not God’s kind. And don’t tell someone you love them when you withhold your affection to get them to do what you want. Neither express the reality of his love and will only confuse people with what love really is.

God’s love can’t be used as a weapon; it is a reality that pulsates through the universe. You are deeply loved by the God who created you, no matter how lost you feel. If you don’t know that, ask him to show you.  Oh, and stop trying to earn it; it will only confuse you, too.

11 thoughts on “Weaponized Love”

  1. As mentioned, sadly widely used with great vigor, although unaware, in a lot of evangelical circles.
    I was saved at gunpoint when 6, baptized the same at 10 (scheduled dunk tank), and by the time
    I reached 12 was certain that I could never please God. Sadly I was right but in the wrong way on that.
    So took the next 30 yrs to decode, recode, detox, etc. Barfing everything out so I could get a restart.
    I know NOW God was OK with that, as he had a hook in me through my praying mother.While loved as
    a raging sinner, it’s awesome to know that in Christ alone is God pleased with me.

  2. Thank You so much Wayne for your post! I loved it, and really needed to read this! I was just seeing how the fear of man, and their angry faces and words when I don’t measure up to what they want motivates me to cover up who I am, and cover up from letting God in also. As it seems He wants me to only do what He wants also so He can love me then! The tightrope gets tighter and skinnier for me to walk on. But the reality is the tightrope is actually what I perceive others and God want from me based on what I experienced my parents wanting of me. The feeling of fear to open up myself to God and leaders for fear of them putting all those things to do on me again feels so suffocating! I am finally free after not going to church for 12 years to think on my own, and to finally do things I like to do and not spend so much time away from home and driving to ministry commitments and classes and things outside my home and family. I know God is calling me to “uncover to Him” but will it just put me back again into that same old merrygoround I can’t get off of. Because if I don’t do what he says, even though He says I have free choice, my relationship with Him won’t progress and will go backwards or stay stagnant. So I have to do what He says and do more when He tells me to.You are saying that He doesn’t use love, giving or withholding it, as a motivation. or weapon. It goes with what I felt God showed me in Mark 5:35-36 in the power new testament. Jesus said to Jairus after he was criticized for “bothering Jesus” to heal his “already dead daughter”, “You must stop being afraid, you must only continually believe.” this was hopeful along with what you said Wayne! I feel like a baby still after going to church and knowing God my whole life, and not not going to church 12 years and healing from abuse durning this time and just learning to live for the first time in my life. The nurturing others has been going on strong all this time, but now I feel God wants more again, but I think it is more freedom I am going to get instead of more obligation when I let Him in more! Thanks for letting me put this into words and for your encouraging words Wayne! Bless you!

  3. I think what you’re saying here about what we define or understand to be love, especially God’s love, strikes right at the core of the problems we’ve had the last two millennia re-God’s kids walking together as a family community and in particular, how the understanding (and confidence) we have of what form God’s love takes towards us deeply shapes both the “message” (gospel) and the role of those we count as shepherding elders in community.
    In the early second century, a distinct change in both the message and the role of shepherding elders can be observed in that it changed from a message where God’s love for us was all about the ‘favour’ or gift of his forgiveness acceptance and care/kindness respect and generosity being freely available to all – and for those who respond with trust of him and his ’form’ of love, lead to our being reconciled to him in a relationship which was evidenced by our being taught by him to walk in this same form of love towards each other in a way that produced one united family community – to a message about what ‘beliefs and practices’ we all needed to be conforming to for us to be able to earn deserve or merit this same favour of love from God, which led to our contending, offending and dividing over whose beliefs and practices were right and whose were wrong.
    Once it was accepted that God’s love was conditional to embracing certain beliefs and practices, both the message and role of shepherding elders worked to undermine what was at the heart of the “good message” – which is of course undermining and twisting our understanding of the very nature of God’s love – a love we all so clearly recognise and experience wherever relationships are based on gifted favour (gifted forgiveness acceptance and care/kindness respect and generosity). And I think we all recognise that it is this form of love that makes the clearest distinction between Gods kingdom family (now and to come) and the oxymoronic ‘conditional favour’ form of so-called love of this world. A distinction I fear that as believers, we have all but lost due to the lies of the adversary.
    I have been convinced for some time that it can only be through the restoring of our understanding and confidence that a relationship with God (and each other) is based on a ‘gifted favour’ form of love that we could then expect that be reflected in the ‘message’ and role of shepherding elders in community – who I would then trust to be able to provide the support needed for God’s kids to fulfil God’s purpose for them individually and collectively through learning from him how to walk in oneness and unity, freedom and love with Jesus and each other as one family community on a local level worldwide….

    1. Ken: thank you for sharing your insights. How did we ever get from Jesus’ life death and resurrection, and the promise of eternal life: “that you may come to know the one true God…” to a religion based on ‘beliefs and practices’?? Thankfully, I sense a worldwide move of God to relieve us of this darkness.
      Like many who follow these blogs of Wayne’s, I grew up steeped in ‘beliefs and practices’, at home, at church, and in society. It has even infiltrated my marriage and my kids. I am only recently beginning to be freed from this, by sheer Mercy. I always said, as did those around me, that I was not religious, but had a relationship with God. The problem is that you think you have a relationship with God until you actually MEET him, and only then can you realize that you never did.
      The age-old terminology bothers me now. Today, ‘Christian’ and ‘faith’ only mean a system of ‘beliefs and practices’. The truth is that we can’t even begin to comprehend any spiritual reality while we are stuck in that ‘beliefs and practices’ paradigm. For God’s Love to penetrate that fortress and establish a true seed of trust in my heart, is the true miracle of the ages!
      I also sense a new iteration of those who are ‘shepherding elders.’ I see these as people who are at a different place in the journey than I am, and can share that with me. In that sense, God has sent many to me, and I am one.
      So God is moving us back to the ‘gifted favour’ form of love, one heart at a time.
      I expand on these comments in theGodJourney blog here:

  4. Thank you so much for writing this truth! I lived with that malnipulation and control believing it was love for the first 12 years of my Christian life, and because the people around me loved like that I beloved that’s how God loved me, some days he did if I was doing ok and towing the line but more often than not he didn’t because I was never quite good enough!
    I am now free and living in the truth, but I need to renew my thinking daily because it has a nasty habit of still going back to that place. Really thankful for your posts because they speak truth to me.

  5. My Family and Pastor have done this very thing to me in trying to use love as a weapon, but it only led to broken relationships and pain. But Gods Love is unconditional
    Thank you for this article you hit the nail on the head.

  6. During my oldest daughter’s late teenage years, she told me I was “chewing the rag”. She knew what my opinion was and repeating it was simply nagging. I realized that “my loving concern” had become disrespectful, and from that moment on I tried (not always successfully) to request permission to give my opinion. Sometimes she said yes, sometimes she said no. But the bottom line was that I respected her increasing ability to think and decide, and grow into adulthood. Now my children are adults and I no longer have the right to demand that they comply to my opinion, no matter how wrong I think they may be. I have to trust that the Lord will now direct and lead them for themselves. Sometimes they still come to me for my opinion, but I can not demand they heed it.

    The problem is that when it comes to my children, or loved ones, I FEAR that they are going to get hurt, I FEAR that their decisions will lead to eternal consequences, I FEAR for their lives and a loss of well-being. And when I start speak out of that fear, it becomes forceful and demanding. And rather than drawing them closer in love, I push them away with fear and anxiety. And maybe my opinion is not right. Had I ever thought of that?

    We cannot live other peoples’ lives. When we live in love, it keeps the pathways open for conversation. When we live in fear, the relational road-blocks go up.

  7. “Peace Shall Destroy Many” is a book by Rudy Wiebe. It is a fictional account about the horrendous practice of “shunning” among Mennonites in the Canadian Prairies.

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