A mother in South Central Los Angeles made a horrifying discovery in her son’s room. Officials from the Los Angeles Police Department told KTTV that the unnamed woman entered her son’s room after noticing a “distinct gas smell.” Inside the room, she found the body of a young woman wrapped in plastic. KTLA identified the victim as a 20-year-old woman. Otherwise, details are few and sketchy. Officers responded to a call at the 2200 block of Wall Street on Sunday. The KTTV report placed the police response at 11:15 a.m., while KTLA reported the call as occurring at 1:15 p.m. The son, identified only as a man in his 20s, remains at large. Police regard him as a suspect in a possible homicide. Meanwhile, the mother who made the gruesome discovery also made the call to police. The facts of this case, once discovered and publicized, will answer questions arising from our natural curiosity and revulsion. Likewise, certain obvious yet still-unthinkable aspects of this story, such as horror for the victim and grief for her loved ones, enter our imaginations and inform our sympathy. The mother’s decision to call the police, however, constitutes the one part of this story in which our imaginations might trick us into perceiving moral ambiguity. For instance, when we imagine ourselves in the dreadful position in which the victim’s loved ones now find themselves, we have no doubt that the mother did right by calling the police. When we imagine ourselves in the mother’s position, however, the decision to report her son as a potential murderer seems less straightforward. After all, amid the whirlwind of trauma-induced emotions she must have felt after discovering a dead body in her son’s room, we still detect a mother’s love for her son. How far would a mother go to protect her child? We can imagine any length. We might not endorse it, but on some level, we would understand. Thus, when it enters our moral calculations in this way, love can deceive us. This is a complicated issue for all human beings but especially for Christians. For instance, in a 1945 essay entitled “The Sermon and the Lunch,” legendary author C.S. Lewis described love, in the ordinary sense, as insufficient even for well-ordered domestic life. The problem, for Lewis, was that love is too easily confused with affection, as opposed to charity. “Left to its natural bent,” Lewis wrote, “affection becomes in the end greedy, naggingly solicitous, jealous, exacting, timorous.” Furthermore, in evaluating the behavior of an acquaintance, a woman who unquestionably loved her family but whom Lewis described as an “endless whimper of self-pity,” the great Christian writer observed that the “continued disappointment of her continued and ruthless demand for sympathy, for affection, for appreciation has helped to make her what she is.” The point, of course, is not to suggest anything analogous to the situation of the mother in South Central Los Angeles. Rather, the point is to show how very complicated our idea of love can be — how it threatens to deceive us even when we want it to guide our moral actions. In short, we may trust love only when it leads us to seek God and to attempt to do His will. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.