In this world there is a distorted definition of love that permeates our culture. The love of the world can best be described as “kicking the can.” It entails eliminating discomfort today, without considering the discomfort of tomorrow. Another way to think about the distorted love of the world is an Ostrich sticking their head in the sand (i.e. out of sight, out of mind).
The word that is commonly used to advocate this kind of distorted love is tolerance. Everyone may define tolerance differently, but the tolerance I am speaking of is the one that advocates the erosion of a standard or morality. This tolerance removes any black lines when it comes to what is right and what is wrong.
A society without a standard of morality is a society that is lawless. It is a society that advocates a culture of everything goes. It is a society that revels in the sensual; if it feels good, do it. It is the Vegas mentality. Peter tells us in the above verse that lawlessness is error. It is error because it doesn’t make logical sense.
It is illogical because someday every person will stand before God in judgment, and the avoidance of discomfort today pales in comparison to the discomfort that is waiting. Here is the section in the Bible that describes this future event:
“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” - Revelation 20:11-15
These five verses should cause us to shutter. Someday each of us will stand before the absolute Judge. If our name is not found in the book of life, then we are doomed. The pain that results from this judgment is unfathomable. Nothing we have ever experienced will hold a candle to the lake of fire. However, if our name is found in the book of life we escape this torment.
So with this in mind, how do we best love the world? Should we enable? Should we ignore? Should we tolerate? Imagine a world that watches silently as a person burns in their home, or as a bus runs over a family, or as a person drowns in the sea. This is what we are doing spiritually as we watch our friends and family live in rebellion against their Maker. To use a phrase of a friend of mine, when we do this we are creating a hospice for Hell.
Real love, the love we see Peter speak of when he says “beloved”, is a love that warns people, a love that pleads with people with tears in their eyes to turn away from their rebellion against God, a love that encourages people to know Jesus Christ and the grace that He offers through His life death and resurrection.
This love is not error, it is truth, and this truth may be uncomfortable for a moment, but if you accept it, and accept Him, it means that your name is written in the book of life.
“Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. “ – John 14:6