There is an old song title that sums up the attitude I perceive from many of the students at KU: “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.”
This week, the University Daily Kansan published their annual “Sex on the Hill” edition. If you didn’t see it, please don’t go looking for it. If you were to peruse the articles within, I think you would come to the same startling realization that I did: everyone is looking for love and acceptance, but they are willing to take whatever they can get.
So many people just want to be loved. They want to feel accepted for who they are (or at least who they are pretending to be.) They want people to value them, to respect them, to see them as worthwhile. They desire nothing more than to have others acknowledge them as important. The problem is, they are looking for this acceptance in all of the wrong ways and they are willing to settle for being used in order to feel “valued.”
As I talk to students, I come to the realization that all of their bravado is simply a mask used to hide the fact that they can’t get satisfaction from the world around them. The choices they make, the things they do, the way they spend their nights and weekends… it all shows that they are looking for a way to fill the void. Don’t worry, they are trying hard. And they are willing to keep trying until they can either find that “love” or dull their pain. We all want to be loved, but if we can’t find true love then we are willing to settle for whatever we can get.
I believe that our job is to give hope to the world. As Christians, our mission is simply to be ambassadors of hope. The hopeful message the world needs to hear is simple and yet profound: “God is love” (1 John 4:8). True love, the most fulfilling and amazing kind of love, can only come from our Father. As John sums up the message of the Gospel he states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his One and Only Son…” (John 3:16ff). This is true love! This is the love that the world has been looking for. This is the love that the world needs to hear about. They no longer have to settle for cheap love or conditional acceptance, because they will never find trueness in these things. They can only find their hope in the one who created them to love them, and who showed his love by giving up everything to be with them.
Now we have to show them how to look for love in all of the right places.