“THE WIT AND WISDOM OF DEF LEPPARD’
Def Leppard. Weren’t they a heavy metal band from the eighties?
Correction: a hair metal band.
What’s the difference?
Heavy metal bands worship Satan. Hair metal bands worship their hair.
Ah. And I remember that song.
Those are actually the only two words I remember from that song.
They’re the only two words you can comprehend in that song.
No. I think there’s a statement about “zimmy liddo high, zimmy liddo low, zimmy liddo heddo, let’s go!” somewhere in there. I understood that.
You’re thinking of “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”
And, of course, the Scriptures would concur.
With Def Leppard?
Well—just those two words.
That love bites?
It does indeed. Love bites. Love bleeds.
See—and in college, I was under the impression that was a bad thing.
Well, I’m probably not using it in the same
context as the Leppard intended.
Did they have the one-armed drummer?
Deep down, aren’t we all one-armed drummers?
Get to the point.
The point is that real and actual love does not often look like
what we think it does.
That it bites?
That we would prefer our love to be selfish, pleasing ourselves most of all.
We expect love to kiss. But true love is aggressive and attentive and changes things, wakes us up from our stupor of danger—motivates, stings,
rebukes—while still gently caressing.
And that’s a bite?
A truer statement would be that love knows. That it is aware.
That it remembers and demands our remembrance right back.
This is how God loves us and it is how we are expected to love others.
It is the only love that will leave teethmarks.
All other love leaves a flashbang*.
*(A grenade that is just for the show. It causes the same noise and flash of light a real grenade would, without destroying anything, without affecting its surroundings, without leaving behind a mark.)
There’s a problem I have though, with the whole teethmarks idea.
You’re insinuating that we have control over what sort of marks are left when we are only the teeth. The person we are trying to affect is the skin. We don’t have any control over whether or not that skin is rough or tender.
I never said to bite the moment you begin to love.
Yes, true love is aggressive, but—like I just said—it is also attentive. It is aware of when one is ready to be bitten.
When the bite will leave something behind.
Yes. When God loves us, He saturates us with Himself in order that our
discovery of Him be real and legitimate. We each begin to discover how much beauty is around us, and we begin to notice His touch and His plan.
Once we embrace Him and say, “I am soft now—I don’t only want you to be the God, I want you to be my God”—that is when he gets aggressive and changes us. The unexpected twist is that He changes us by allowing us to change others. We follow His example. We get into others’ lives. We are attentive. We help meet their needs and reveal to them God’s beauty. This softens them until the point when they are prepared to have a true scar of love left behind.
Isn’t that manipulation?
It is if you don’t truly believe God and love the people.
If you try to soften people to change them to your whims so you have another
notch in our belt, you will fail anyway.
But it is not manipulation at all to love someone so much that you respond to their needs in a way that reveals your God is real and true and will change them.
It is not human to love others unconditionally. It can only be spiritual.
Let’s go back to an idea you mentioned briefly.
The worshipping of hair?
No. After that. You said love remembers.
Well isn’t that what a scar is?
Something indelible that causes us to learn
Ignorance forgets. But love remembers.
Like the way married couples hold grudges.
Maybe you should explain a little more.
Recently I did the “read the Bible in a year” plan.
Impressive. How long did it take you?
Two years, eight months.
Forget what I said about impressive.
I was looking for the common theme that connected
all the books together because I’ve always been a little nonplussed
by the genealogy chapters where they list
367 unpronounceable names in one sitting.
You don’t enjoy those?
Not a big fan,. No.
So did you come up with anything?
In fact—I did.
Every book of the Bible does have one central theme
in common, and it was a vastly important lesson for me.
The tension is mounting.
Never forget God.
Okay. Now, I’m intrigued.
Well—think about it. Whey would those genealogies be there in the first place? It means that history is extremely important to God. How we got to where we are—how we learned that we learned—and how God made it all happen. God gets the people in the Bible out of scrape after scrape and tragedy after tragedy because—let’s face it—a lot of those guys made some really bad choices. But the grandest mistake of all is that after God would help them, rescue them, or change them, they would have a tendency to eventually forget. So God appears as fire and smoke to remind them.
He has them build a tabernacle. He sends tablets of stone down from the mountain. He puts a ram in a bush and a star in the east and a rainbow in the sky and a child in an animal trough and sends prophets and psalmists and judges and angels and dreams and goes to the great lengths necessary so that we are constantly reminded that He loves us and does not want us to FORGET that he loves us because when we forget
that he loves us—bad things happen.
Why do bad things happen?
Because when we forget that He is God,
we have a tendency to believe that we are.
We might not say it or think we believe it,
but our actions speak otherwise.
It is in these forgetful moments where
we become petty and self-involved—
proprietary and indignant.
This is when our acts of so-called love are truly for our own benefit.
And these acts leave no true indentation.
Because the truth of the matter is
we have no right or reason to forget God.
Don’t you think that’s a little unfair?
In what way?
In many ways. Many aren’t softened enough yet
to catch on to the fact that God is there.
Are you saying that they have no right to forget God?
Because God has never forgotten them.
Many think God has forgotten them,
and this is why they do not believe.
But he has never stopped reaching for their hand
regardless of how withdrawn it may be from him.
We make decisions—or others do—
that place our own lives in a compromising position.
And we are so quick to claim that God’s hand has been withdrawn.
But the truth is no matter how much damage we do to God’s reputation,
He is continually reaching out in new attentive ways.
If the sunrise doesn’t work, He’ll go for a miracle.
Whatever it takes—He keeps reaching until His hand is slapped aside.
And even in that case, He will reach again.
Because He never forgets us.
But even though this is how we are each eventually reached,
we have an inclination to forget what sort of love was actually effective
and refuse that love to others around us.
SO we give our own version of what we label love—the counterfeit.
And we push and we pull and we bite, and we are suddenly so surprised
when there is no evidence that our love was ever there.
But God is concerned for His Holy Name,
which has been dishonored by His people throughout the world.
Dishonored by us.
Dishonored by counterfeit love.
And it is time to change course.
To remember Him. To honor Him with our actions.
And for those actions to indeed leave teethmarks.
-Excerpt from the book FlashBang by Mark Steele