Love “Will Cool Off”
In his great prophecy on “the conclusion of the system of things,” Jesus accurately foretold the conditions and trends of our day. He said that the world would be marked by lawlessness and wars—the very opposite of love! He also said that “many . . . will betray one another and will hate one another” and that “the love of the greater number will cool off.” (Matthew 24:3-12) Do you not agree that the world has grown colder and that genuine love is lacking, even within families?
In addition to Jesus’ words, the apostle Paul gave a detailed social profile, as it were, of “the last days.” He wrote that people would be “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.” (2 Timothy 3:1-4) In many lands those traits have become very common.
Think: Are you drawn to proud, unthankful people, to those who are disloyal, who will slander or betray you? Do you warm to individuals who are in love with themselves, with money, or with pleasures? Because self-centered people allow greed and personal desires to define and govern their relationships, any interest they show in others is likely to be selfish. Wisely, the Scriptures counsel: “From these turn away.”—2 Timothy 3:5.
Note, too, the statement that people living in the last days would have “no natural affection” or that, as another translation puts it, they would “lack normal affection for their families.” Sadly, an increasing number of children are growing up in homes like that. Often, what these young ones learn about love they pick up from the media. But do the media paint an accurate picture of love, one that will really produce better relationships?
Fantasy Love or the Real Thing?
To some degree most of us are influenced by the media. One researcher wrote: “From the time we’re very young, we’re barraged with fairy-tale depictions and hard-to-break stereotypes of sex, love, and romance in the popular culture—movies and television, books and magazines, radio and recorded music, advertising, and even the news.” She also explained: “Most mass media portrayals of sex, love, and romance shape or reinforce unrealistic expectations that most of us can’t dismiss completely. They make us dissatisfied with our real partners as well as with ourselves.”
Yes, books, movies, and songs rarely present an accurate picture of love. After all, their purpose is primarily to entertain, not to educate. Thus, writers churn out blends of fantasy and romance that will bring in the money. Sadly, though, it is easy to confuse such fiction with reality. Hence, people are often disappointed when their relationships do not match those of fictional characters. So how can we distinguish between fantasy and reality, between media romance and genuine love? Consider the following comparisons.