Friday, January 28, 2011

Does Love Hurt? cont.

If you didn't read it already, a couple of days ago I posted this: In this post I discussed the pain that we normally attribute to love, the pain of losing someone or being rejected by someone whom we love. The conclusion was that that pain is not from love but from the expectation of love. In other words it is the absence of love that causes that pain. I think this is an important distinction, because love does not cause rejection or loss. God is love (1 John 4:8) and part of Him being love is that He will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5).

So this brings us back to the question of 'Does love hurt?'. If the pain that we normally relate to love is not from love than does that mean there is no pain from love? The answer is no. There is definitely a pain that can come from love. This pain can come in two different ways but both are related to one aspect of love. True and perfect love always wants the best thing for the other person. This aspect of love can cause pain both to the person loving and the person being loved.

It can be painful, for a time, to be loved. This comes through the concept of 'tough love'. It often hurts to be disciplined and discipline is a result that comes from love.

"because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in." (Proverbs 3:12)

Discipline can hurt, but as I said, it is only for a time. As long as we accept and respond to the discipline, the pain will fade and we will come out stronger and happier than before. This is why love disciplines, because love always wants the best for the other person and knows that discipline will bring out the best, even if the initial reaction is pain. I believe that this is the only pain that comes from being loved. The conclusion of this is that when one is loved there will never be lasting pain and there will only be a 'good' pain. This is why it is so good to follow God. Because God is love, we can know that any pain that comes as a result of following Him is a pain that will grow us and make us stronger. We can also know that this pain will not last, we can get through it!

Next, we have the pain that comes to those who love. As stated before, love always prefers the other person. Love is never selfish and always selfless. This kind of love is never shown in it's perfection outside of God Himself. Humans, since the fall, have a natural tendency to be selfish. We look out for ourselves first and it is sometimes difficult to find a truly selfless act. This is the first reason why it can hurt to practice love. When we make the decision as humans to put others in front of ourselves it can hurt. Theoretically we should be happy with them, if we truly love them, but that theory does not always manifest in our imperfect love. Therefore, we must make the decision to take that painful step, to step out in selfless acts of love.

The other instance in which love causes pain is another aspect of the the imperfection of humanity. Love always wants the best for others, but people do not always choose the best thing for themselves. Anyone who has a loved one who has struggled with addictions knows this pain very well. We desire them to be free, to stop drinking, using drugs, or whatever else it might be. But they don't, and it is painful to watch them hurting themselves.We also see that God experiences pain from His love for us:

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. (Ephesians 4:29-31)

It is an amazing evidence of God's love for us to see that when we hurt ourselves, or others, it actually grieves His Spirit!It is not a matter of Him simply being angry that we did not obey Him. It is just like when we watch our loved one destroy Himself with drugs or alcohol, God feels the same kind of pain when He watches us destroy ourselves in sin. This is why He calls us to follow Him, this is why He asks us to spread His good news, and this is why He disciplines us. He wants what is best for us, but we continually reject Him and go against Him, and through that we cause Him pain!

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