Saturday, December 27, 2014

Love Hurts

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

It seems to be widely accepted that love is a good feeling between two people that makes both parties feel good, and that if those good feelings turn bad consistently, then they have “fallen out of love.”  This ignores an important truth that we don’t want to accept:  love hurts.  I am not referring only to grief at the loss of one you have loved, but of the everyday “betrayals,” if you will.  Love is when we esteem the other person more than ourselves, and we often fall a bit short of that as our focus turns inward upon ourselves more than the other person.  We place our own selves on the throne of our heart rather than Christ, and subsequently, others.  We sin against one another and against God.

No human can have a relationship without sinning against the one with whom they have the relationship… except that One did.  True love does exist, and it exists in the person of Jesus Christ.  He is the only human to have never sinned, and will be the only one until His second coming, when His children “…will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:4ff)

Christ, in His true love, unceasingly forgave those around Him.  Ultimately, He paid the price for all of His children’s sins, that we might have fellowship with Him.  We, too, in our love for one another, must forgive those we love of the sins committed against us - even should it be the “…seventy times seven” that Christ speaks of in Matthew 18:22.  Else we are not loving the other person - esteeming them higher than ourselves - and nor can we partake of the joyous part of love.  

When we wallow in the part of love that hurts because of sin, then we have become discontent.  It is not that we have “fallen out of love,” but that we have decided - have chosen - to put ourselves higher than the other person.  Christ always gives the option of repentance of this, even though the rest of mankind often finds this more difficult than they care to accept.

Love from God - His perfect love that casts out fear (1 John 4:18) - can even hurt, because we are sinful.  “Whom the Lord loves, He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:12)  Reproof, or discipline, hurts.  Yet God does it because He loves us.  We don’t want to hurt, and I, at least, can idolize that desire.  I lose sight of God and His love.  I lose sight of His grace.

Yes, even Pain, and the fact that love hurts, are gifts of His grace.  If His love didn’t hurt - if He didn’t reprove us - we wouldn’t grow in our sinful environment.  If we humans didn’t hurt one another in our sins, we wouldn’t recognize the filth of our sins.  Christ’s light shines all the brighter amid the background of our evil.  Christ’s love can surpass that evil in us, though.  He gives us the choice every time a loved one sins against us to forgive.  It can hurt to forgive, too… but it is also healing.

Yes, love hurts, and we hurt… but it will not always be so.  Christ will return, and when He does, He will call His own to Himself and “He who began a good work in you” (Philippians 1:6b) will complete His perfection in you.

I am thankful that love hurts now, in God’s wisdom.  I am thankful to be able to see my sin.  I am thankful for God’s grace and mercy on me, a sinner, whom He is perfecting until He returns.

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