For a while, I’ve been hearing/reading an unfortunate term, used by Christians–often youth pastors–and I think it’s time to say something.
“We’re just here to love on these kids”. Or elders, poor people, people of a different racial group.
It’s a little creepy, and while I agree, “creepy” is only the tip of the iceberg.
To “love on” a person is sort of like “eating on” a plate or a table. The person/plate/table becomes an object for the convenience of the agent–the person doing the “loving” (or eating).
To “love on”, much like to “eat on”, is non-relational, and non-transformative. The person/plate/table “loved” on or “eaten” on, is not changed, improved, developed, matured.
Indeed, it is more likely the person/plate/table is just left with a crumby, sticky, wet mess. And the “lover”/eater is unlikely to want to clean it up.
How about just “love” the person?