the love trap

The use of love to trap people.

When we invite people into our communities and promise them that they will experience true community with all its benefits, including unconditional love, we should mean it. We should keep our promises.

Unconditional love also means unlimited love. That means it doesn’t end when a condition isn’t met.

These two guys are being lured in by what looks like unconditional love. In this case, it’s a trap.

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  • http://marthaorlando.blogspot.com Martha Orlando

    It is exactly what the church should deliver, but, sadly, many do not.
    Your cartoon expresses this perfectly!
    Blessings to you!

  • DRG

    “Time, Talent and Tithe”… in my experience the ‘payment’ for ‘unconditional’ love.

  • Jeff Cole

    This is my new Favorite ! So good David .

  • Andrea Lesko

    But the rope holders believe they ARE offering unconditional love…it’s kind of a double blind trap.

  • http://asaints.org John Sack

    Interesting that the rope-holders are outside of the church.

  • JP

    The rope-holders are behind the church.

    **almost makes it sound like some creepy illuminati plot. 😛

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    We never invite people into our community with false promises like that.

    There’s no unconditional love when you get a bunch of sinners together, apart from the love of Christ Jesus. And that love is there. But so are a lot of sinners who will be sinners.

    This utopian strain in many Christians is a sad development. So if it all isn’t perfect, they throw the whole thing overboard. Very sad.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    Steve: so what do you do with “They will know by your love for one another”? Luther’s justification theology is awesome, but it just doesn’t cut it today. It no longer can be used as a hermeneutic for understanding the good news. In my opinion it would be better for a church just to admit that it doesn’t love unconditionally and has no intention of trying to imitate its master.

  • Darrin

    Brilliant!! Love it Dave!

  • http://cassandratoday.wordpress.com Jenny Howard

    A friend pointed out that a very similar thing can be said about personal relationships. Pickup artists have been using this technique since time immemorial.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    that’s true jenny.

  • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

    One of your funniest yet!

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    thanks buzz

  • ccws

    @John Sack – Yeah, I noticed that too. Funny how (with few exceptions – spiders, for one) trappers generally don’t set themselves up inside the trap…

  • Jeanne

    Steve Martin makes an excellent point.
    No church, no person, no Christian, regardless of the sincerity of his/her motives, can keep up the unconditional love promise. Only the Trinity can accomplish that. BUT we can keep trying “to get it right.” AND we can work on being more transparent in our failures and ask for forgiveness every time we fail.

  • Amy

    Sorry Steve Martin, that boat don’t float. “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven” type excuses for the degree that the Church fails to love don’t hold water. They fail to reflect our New Covenant reality in Him. The truth is that we’ve become new creatures and it’s important to keep our minds pointed toward this fact. We’re not just a “bunch of sinners” anymore – we are new creations! As long as we believe the “sinners” idea about ourselves, the disheartening degree to which the Church fails to love will remain an epidemic.

    Too many Christians don’t understand their true identity. I’d recommend starting with some good food for thought, such as “Recovering Your Good Heart” by Jim Robbins.

  • Bill Ferrell

    Great stuff!! I have only been on your site a few times, but this is one of your best. It is also a very true observation. I love your art.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    thanks bill.

  • Amy

    But Steve, maybe that’s part of the problem. We think we can ‘imitate our Master,’ but these words imply Old Covenant mentality to me. We now abide in Him, and He in us, yes? He no longer calls us servants, but friends. And, imitating implies acting out good behavior, abiding is first knowing His love and then just letting it flow :-)

  • Helen

    Ha, cartoon made me snort. A honeytrap might be another good analogy. I don’t believe it’s possible for a church to function as a corporate business model and show unconditional love at the same time. Jenny, thanks for the book recommendation, I’m onto it. I have attended a Baptist church in the past where it was all ‘sinners come to me’ every week. No milk, no meat, just condemnation. I reject that theology.

  • http://cassandratoday.wordpress.com Jenny Howard

    @Snortin’ Helen —

    I wish I’d recommended that book, but ’twas Amy. :)

  • Christine

    And there IS unconditional love in the world. Many families DO exhibit this, and I would think with a much higher success rate than in the church. AND that doesn’t just apply to Christian families.

    No one saying there isn’t going to be mistakes, moments where we hurt or rejection when unconditional love should not allow such things. But in families we often see people admitting mistakes and making amends – it is the rejectors that, over time, come to see their errors and seek forgiveness. The church is often the opposite, making a SYSTEM of withdrawing and withholding love, with never any realization of the harm or hypocrisy. It is the rejected who are supposed to repent to come back into the fold.

    This isn’t just a case of “sinners being sinners”. It goes beyond normal, everyday failures in love to something hideous and perverse. It’s fine, Steve, if you want to hold up your church as the exception – maybe it is, I haven’t been or even know what church it is (you’ll have to excuse our skepticism, though – but how can you look at the whole system of organized religion and deny this trend?

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    The heart of the matter is the simul justus et peccator. Of course, we are supposed to be as loving as we can manage. But by continually pointing out how unloving other people are (not wanting to condone serious abuse) we aren’t doing it either. We are at the very same time sinners and saints. We are justified. We are new. But at the same time we struggle and need forgiveness everyday. The life that we share is one of continual renewal, continual asking for forgiveness, continual giving and receiving from one another. It does not end until this life is over and the corrupt is finally put off. Romans 6 and 7.

  • Christine

    @Brigitte: Are you seriously opposing people speaking out about wrongdoing? (And doing so by speaking about how wrong that is?) You’re acting like being careful to not condone serious abuse is somehow going too far.

    Yes, we should never call anyone out on their abuse. You know, like Jesus…

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Yea, sure, Christine, that’s what I said.

  • http://asbojesus.wordpress.com jonbirch

    laughed out loud at this one! :-)

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    i heard you from over here!

  • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

    ~ The love trap is a little old place where we can get to together. The love trap baby, yeah. Love trap, baby love trap. Love trap, baby love trap. ~

    Sorry. Think the cold medication is finally getting to me… Or the boredom…

  • Narelle Friar

    SO much in one picture – you are very clever. So So TRUE!!! Experiencing it big time in our little village church right now. Judas kisses and hugs too!!

  • Amber

    OH MY GOODNESS! I love this. :) Thanks for being you and empowering others to do the same! (To be themselves.. not to be you.)

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    nice to meet you amber!