Love Hurts

Job 19:19

All my intimate friends abhor me, and those whom I loved have turned against me.

Psalm 109:5

So, they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love.

John 15:13

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

1 John 3:17

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

When you open your heart and invest yourself into the life of another, you may find yourself hurt from the experience. Real, genuine love when put into practice is sacrificing the self for the sake of another.

We love another expecting to be loved in return. But what happens when our expectations are not met?

Job was a wealthy man who gave generously to his family, friends, and those in need. But when he lost his home, business, family, and even his health, his friends and even his wife considered him an outcast. When he needed help at the lowest point of his life, his wife recommended he curse God and die. His small circle of friends visited him preaching religious sound bytes. Instead of extending the truthful love he actually needed at the time, they beat him down further.

The Psalmist complained about those around him who returned his love with hate and the good he did came back with evil replies.

Jesus himself paid the ultimate price. HIS love for others disappeared into betrayal when his disciples fled away as he was taken prisoner in the night.

Yes, when you love others, you risk becoming hurt from the experience. But the risk is the price we pay to experience the greatest high this life has to offer – God’s love flowing in you and through you.

More books and movies have are made under the theme of love than any other. Based on my observations, love is the natural human epitome of experiencing the God-life. When we connect with another person in a way to contribute more toward their well being, we taste the character of God. When we sacrifice our time, money, and resources for their betterment, the feeling and pleasure we receive is another taste of God’s character. And since we are made in HIS image, we get to partake in how HE lives and shares life with others by loving others.

The Bible reminds us that God is love (1 John 4:8). The closer we lean on HIM, the more HIS character rubs unto us. Yet, like HIM, the pleasure of love also has another side – the pain of love.

We see this throughout the Old Testament where God’s people constantly and repeatedly would backslide into rebellion. From Adam & Eve to the startup nation of Israel, and all the people since is a history of blessings and curses in the name of love. God continues to exercise HIS steadfast love toward HIS earthly children. They either passively rebel, or openly rebel against HIM. The history of God’s people is a roller-coaster ride of super highs followed by drastic lows. Yet, every time God is hurt from our responsiveness, he refuses to except the situation. Instead HE moves on to extend HIS steadfast love through other means.

Every time you love someone, the risk is you will be hurt or disappointed. Yet, we are most grateful to surrender any potential pain unto Him who knows such pain – Jesus Christ. Our responsibility is to sacrificially love everyone. Yet be wise. Whether we live or die from such action, we trust God will be with us throughout the process. And that is always a good place to be.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager, Faith-Integrator, Scribbler

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Steadfast Love

Proverbs 19:22

What is desired in a man is steadfast love…

Hosea 6:6

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

In hindsight, I was a very difficult child. I probably caused most of the family difficulties in my parent’s household. I was rebellious, strong willed, and hated our family culture. Yet, deep down inside, I knew both parents loved me in their own way no matter how stupidly I acted.

Currently, after almost forty years of marriage to the same woman, I know she still loves me. Though throughout the years we had our share of heated arguments, strong differences in parental tactics, and sharp changes in personal preferences in food, clothing, and lifestyle, we still confirm our love for each other and enjoy sharing life together.       

Then God, while I was still in total rebellion against Him, forgave me for disrespecting Him and His ways before I even came to know Him. Since then, through the knowledge of Jesus Christ, I have come to grow in His grace. He is now my standard of measurement of the steadfast love we are to display and share with others.

To know someone loves you unconditionally opens the door of acceptance. You learn to fully accept yourself as you are and yet are motivated to live up to your full potential as a person. You gladly change your attitude, behavior, and thinking so you may fully enjoy living with the person who steadfastly loves you. You enjoy their companionship. You look forward to sharing your life with them and they share their life with you. And with the Triune God there is no difference.

God longs to share His life with you. His desire is to create a human/divine family that includes you and me. Like any healthy family, the parent wants to be involved in their children activities. God likewise wants to be involved in your activities. As you share your life with Him, you will discover more of who HE is. As you gain knowledge of His character, attributes, and ways, you will inculcate them into your life. You will become an image of your Father in heaven. You will then better understand how the apostle Paul wrote that we are being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.

Everything good begins with love. When love is allowed to bloom, we begin to experience the entire fruit of God’s Spirit. The fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control become the bedrock of one’s attitude in life. Love also leads the way for faith and hope to follow. When apostle John writes that God is Love, than one better understands the importance of allowing God to fully live in us.

HE is the essence of all creation. HE created life, the planet, and universe so that HE may express HIS love. When we rebel against HIS love, we find ourselves living life outside HIS Character. The result is sin which devastates oneself and those around you. When immature, we rebel thinking this type of life is normal. We wallow in our misery and call the dark side of life normal. When love is removed, the ugliness of human nature runs rampant. The result is self-destruction and eventually the destruction of a society.

There is nothing more highly elevated than immovable love, firmly fixed in place, and non-changing for one to totally grasp the power and character of God. His steadfast love is our standard to pursue. Even when we fail, his grace will pick us up, and we will continue the journey to become more and more like our elderly brother Jesus Christ.

Is not this what makes being a Christ-follower the most adventurous trip one can choose in this life?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager, Faith-Integrator, Scribbler

Available for Your Devotional Study: 

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Love Trap     

John 13:34

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

1 John 3:18

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

How can love be a trap? Isn’t love the most important attribute we desire?

And since God is Love, is God a trap?

You probably have also thought of other questions as your curiosity reads. But yes, love in all its supreme condition can be an illusion unless one is careful to build on the foundation of reality. Since God is real, and God is love (1 Jn. 4:8), than love is real. But lying to self is also a reality.

The love trap is falling into the crater of illusion confusing the attribute solely as an inner emotional feeling rather than an outward active response.

It is the young teenagers who love one another and want to quit school so they may marry and have a happy life. It is the infatuation taking the emotional control of a person without grasping at reality. It is typically narrowing love to a single event or person and forgetting everything else.

In addition, culture has cheapened love. Advertisers demonstrate that “love” is obtained through a product. Our toys, cars, and kitchen appliances are the articles that express our intense “love” as consumers.

Hollywood portrays sex as the ultimate expression of “love”. Two strangers meet in the hotel lobby and then find themselves passionately “making love” one hour later.

Culture may create illusions of love, but Jesus reminds us throughout his life that real love is sacrificial service for the sake of others. Love is action rather than a feeling. Love is outward concern for the other rather than self-rewarding.

Love is demonstrated by the strong helping the weak. The wealthy uplifting the poor. The educated teaching the illiterate. The mother or father sacrificing a career for the sake of raising children. Throughout history, those who have sacrificed for the sake of others have experienced real love without seeking it.

A husband who sacrifices his desires to please his wife and the wife who sacrifices her desires to please her husband demonstrates God’s love in action.

When leaders seek to serve their followers through deeds built upon the truth of reality rather than propaganda or market spin, exhibit God’s love in action. 

Love is not rhetoric nor an academic expression of feelings. Love is outward action built upon eternal values of reality.

We are thankful Jesus established a new standard to measure love: HIMSELF. His example of sacrificial service for others is the real standard of love.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Author of e-Books 

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