Over the last couple of years I've heard and read a lot of people who were talking about the use of romantic language to describe our relationship with Jesus. When I read two different people talking about it last week, it was something I began to think about a lot. I had definitely noticed the language before, but I hadn't spent a lot of time thinking about it until now.
To be honest, the language in some songs I've heard lately has not really been language I'm a fan of. I've struggled to sing songs in worship that I feel like could be sung to a boyfriend. If I can't tell when I listen to a song whether it's written as a love song to Jesus or to a boyfriend, I really do have a hard time with it as a song in corporate worship.
I don't mean that we shouldn't love Jesus. I don't want to devalue anything about Jesus' love for us. It's a vital part of our lives as Christians. We need it. But, I sometimes struggle with the language we use when speaking of this.
I don't find this struggle only with worship music. I've also struggled with using the language "dating Jesus" that I've heard at times. It's important that we spend time with God and deepen our relationship with Him. But I've always seen that as spending time with Jesus like you would a friend. To me spending time with friends it listening, talking, laughing, crying. and just overall being together. To me, that's what spending time with Jesus should be as well, and I don't feel that I need to "date Jesus" in order to do so.
Really, when I'm on a date, I'm often putting up my best self. I'm not usually being myself on a date. I'm trying to impress someone and present the part of me I want to have seen and known. But, when I'm out with friends, I'm usually more myself. I'm more likely to let the "real me" be known. I guess that's why I've often had a problem with "dating Jesus". It just doesn't seem like it can be as real to me.
I guess my conclusion about this is that, while we are to love Jesus and loved by Him, we need to be cautious in our use of romantic language to describe that relationship. To me, it seems that when we go overboard with that kind of language, we can actually push people away rather than draw them in.