“How can a human being be a god-like ‘everything’ to another?  No human relationship can bear the burden of godhood, and the attempt has to take its toll in some way on both parties. . . . If your partner is your ‘All’ then any shortcoming in him becomes a major threat to you. . . . After all, what is it that we want when we elevate the love partner to the position of God?  We want redemption – nothing less.  We want to be rid of our faults, of our feeling of nothingness.  We want to be justified, to know that our creation has not been in vain. . . . Needless to say, human partners can’t do this.”

Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death (New York, 1973), pages 166-167.  Italics original.

Human romance is a glorious experience.  But it is not the ultimate human experience.  And needing it to be more than it can be destroys the more modest but good thing it is meant to be.

It is loving to allow your dear one not to provide your finality and to embrace him or her gratefully as a precious reminder of your Savior’s endless love.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love.”  Jeremiah 31:3

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Ray Ortlund


Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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