by Ernest Liu
about the author

  • Random Sniplets
  • #lovewins

    To preface this post, I will apologize in advance. The topic of this post is offensive, and there is really no way around it. Often times the truth hurts because it challenges our opinions, our character, and our heart. But since the unsaid truth can hurt more in the long run, the truth must be proclaimed.

    Love wins.

    It really does. It wins all sorts of things. But often times, we’re confused about exactly what “love” is. The Greeks were wise enough to distinguish the concept of love into four types: Storge, phileo, eros, and agape.

    Storge wins.

    It is the naturally occurring love that exists within families, such as the affection between a parent and a child. This type of love protects, and is generally a good type of love. However, it is also a type of love that can lead one to become disproportionately vengeful when their family is threatened or attacked. In some cases, storge wins unlawful vengeance.

    Phileo wins.

    It is the generosity and affection most often exhibited between close friends. This love seeks to make the object of affection happy. But there are consequences for loving the wrong person. Loving the wrong person in this fashion can drive one towards their friend’s immorality. It can cause him or her to become vulnerable and susceptible to abuse. Sometimes, phileo love wins destruction.

    Eros wins.

    It is the passionate and sexual love between two people. It empowers marriages. At its height, physical nakedness and vulnerability is a token of how they’ve offered their whole lives–with emotional, social, and spiritual transparency and intimacy. Unfortunately, eros is the love that most often leads individuals to impurity. It drives people to pedophilia, polygamy, adultery, orgies, and rape. It is probably the love that most powerfully drives people towards wickedness and debauchery. Often times, eros wins foolishness and corruption.

    This leaves us with one remaining love.

    Agape.

    This is where things get offensive. Because to truly understand this type of love, the human nature of every reader needs to be revealed. You, the very one reading these words now, are no exception, and neither am I.

    God is ultimate. He is purely righteous, supremely powerful, and perfectly loving. He is the author of the universe, creator of mankind. If all of existence is a story, then He is the main character. Not you. You and I only exist to glorify Him with our lives, and rightly so.

    But mankind rebelled and sinned against God. Whenever we cheat on a test, cheat on our taxes, cheat on our spouses, we sin. We tell God our way of life is better. Our natural, sinful desires pull us away from God, and we charge towards sin. It’s been a hell-bound race ever since Adam ate the fruit. At the root of our godless hearts, we are selfish. We sway with social tides or reprimand others in self-righteousness. We reject God and console our hearts by convincing ourselves that we are moral. But God is the one who defines morality, and to defy Him means to shatter the perfectly loving relationship we were made to have with Him.

    The consequence of our rejection is Hell, because that is the only alternative to God. It is where we choose to go when God ultimately lets us have our way. It is where we will cling to our sin for eternity. We will become like Gollum, forever cherishing the very thing that consumes and kills us.

    But God loved us so much that He wanted to restore the relationship we forsook. So He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to come down and die on a cross for us. Jesus suffered the wrath that mankind deserved in Hell. He took the punishment for us. Jesus then conquered death and rose from the grave three days later.

    All we have to do is respond. We must accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. In doing so, we no longer have to pay the penalty for our sins and our eternal relationship with God is restored. Once dead on this earth, we continue our life with God in Heaven.

    Agape wins.

    It is the unconditional, self-sacrificing love that has only been perfectly demonstrated by God. Those who follow Christ strive to reflect this type of love.

    In 2007, religious extremists in Turkey trapped three evangelical Christians in their own church. The savages filmed their three-hour torture where they disemboweled, dismembered, and stabbed these missionaries hundreds of times. The wife of one victim publicly forgave the murderous men repeating the words of Jesus Christ, “They know not what they do.” She had no storge, phileo, or eros for them, but she demonstrated agape and gave them undeserved forgiveness with nothing to gain. For the believer, agape always wins, because we ultimately count our blessings on Earth as loss compared to our relationship with God. Agape requires nothing in return, and seeks the ultimate perfection of the loved.

    You need God to save you from your bondage to sin. Denying His loving sacrifice means choosing Hell. This is the offending truth that must be proclaimed. But the offending truth also comes with redeeming love.

    Jesus Christ is the ultimate #lovewins.

    If you believe that some god exists or have any respect for established historical record, then I encourage you to find out about Jesus on your own. Read the book of John. It may be the most important thing you’ll ever read in your life. One day, His agape may win you.

    The Art of Being Less Friendly

    One Friday night, I visited a fellowship in SoCal. I was taking the weekend to hang out with a bunch of friends at Disneyland, and decided to attend a fellowship I once previously enjoyed. I met a lot of cool people that night, including this one girl…

    Okay, wait. Hold on. No.

    I am not implying that I had a thing for her. And I didn’t. But she seemed very friendly and extroverted, so when she mentioned that she had a Disneyland pass, I invited her to come join us the following day. After all, we had seven people in our group, the worst number for ride distribution. In my mind, I loved the logistical outcome of an additional park goer, and I’d get to hang out with a new friend!

    But for the rest of the night, I thought to myself… “I better not engage in conversation with her, or even look at her, or I’ll accidentally lead her on.” So I proceeded with caution. And everything went pretty well. We ended up in a group together one last time before I left, and as I made my way to the car, I reminded her that she was welcome to join. She said she’d think about it. She was probably thinking, “Nnnnnnnope.”

    In the car, I turned to my friend Laurence and asked, “Do you think Mary (or whatever her name was) thinks I was coming on to her?” He answered with a pretty quick “No.” After he affirmed that he knew I was just being friendly, he later changed his mind and said, “Okay, maybe she thought something was up after you invited her a second time.”

    Later, we also talked about how Laurence was talking to a girl (since there was no one else to talk to) when her boyfriend swooped in to give her a hug. It looked like the guy was saving her from creeper Laurence, or trying to send a message that she’s taken and he can stop trying.

    Oh, the things we have to deal with.

    Sometimes it bothers me, though. In my mind, in a sinless and perfect world, we could be as friendly as we want to one another. No one would have the fear of being engaged by someone with ulterior motives. Friendships would abound, and if romantic interests developed, there would be no fear of the dreaded friend zone.

    But sin is abundant in the world, so friendships get stifled. We guard ourselves in case a fellow human being wants something from us. We take time to judge whether or not someone genuinely wants to be our friend. On the other end, we often climb the friendship ladder slowly so we don’t send the wrong message. It’s like we have to perfect the art of being less friendly.

    Learning to be An Extrovert

    In the past couple of years, I’ve been training myself to be more extroverted in my interactions. To be more welcoming and amicable. It probably started when my friend Veronica began asking me to greet new guys at church, and I have to say, it was a good push to get me out of my comfort zone.

    But now that I’m more comfortable with cold turkey contact, I’ve noticed that I need to pull back. Mainly when approaching girls. Actually, pretty much only when approaching girls. (With guys, it’s easy to dive deep, even after only meeting them once.) And honestly, I strongly dislike the need to hold back just so I don’t creep people out. But I see why it’s necessary. And don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming girls for being careful around guys. I’m just irked by how sin has inhibited many potential, fruitful friendships.

    Eventually, in Heaven, we won’t be ravaged with this problem. We’ll all be in a perfect state, able to interact without fear of any sort, and that is the world I long to live in.

    You Know What’s Underrated?

    underrated

    *during a conversation*

    Mike: That’s overrated.
    Kim: Dude, you think everything’s overrated.
    Mike: What, no! Okay. You know what’s underrated?

    *silence*

    Mike: The small things.

    My roommate was right. It’s usually the bigger things that get appreciated. The pastor’s heart-piercing message, the fantastic worship sets, or the fancy food at Thanksgiving banquets. But little things go a long way. Because at its core, they’re not little at all. It takes a big heart to do the little things. So here’s a tribute to those that do the little things.

    Continue reading

    The Malignancy of Sin

    Hell makes a lot more sense when you get past the elementary understanding of “eternal fire.” The thing that really burns in Hell is often misunderstood…

    I recently started reading the book Respectable Sins. In chapter three it reads:

    “Another term for cancer is malignancy. Medically, the word malignant describes a tumor of potentially unlimited growth that expands locally into adjoining tissue by invasion and systemically by metastasizing into other areas of the body. Left alone, a malignancy tends to infiltrate and metastasize throughout the entire body and will eventually cause death. No wonder cancer and malignant are such dreaded words.

    Sin is a spiritual and moral malignancy. Left unchecked, it can spread throughout our entire inner being and contaminate every area of our lives.”1

    In Hell, God is no longer present to help you suppress your sin. It grows like a cancer, just like it did on Earth, but without restraint and for eternity. It invades every fiber of your soul until your burning pride, anger, selfishness, frustration, anxiety, and worldliness consumes you. But it doesn’t end. It never ends. Spiritual malignancy is eternal.

    The longer I live, the more I realize how sinfully capable I am and how lost my soul would be without the sanctification granted by my Savior. I can only begin to imagine where my sin would take me if given an eternity. And it’s not pretty.

    Thanks for the sacrifice, God.

    1Bridges, Jerry (2014-02-01). Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate (p. 23). NavPress. Kindle Edition.