When Loving Others Hurts
When Loving Others Hurts
It's February - the LOVE month. The Bible makes it crystal clear that we are to love one another. In John 13:34 Jesus tells us
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
We want to be obedient to Christ, truly we do! We want to love others unconditionally just as He commanded and have lots of friends. Some are super easy to love. We share a bond and are committed to one another. But some friendships can be a little tricky. They can be challenging and even painful. So, what are we to do when loving others hurts?
Can we claim an exception to this commandment? What about the “one another’s” who have hurt us? What about the ones who walked away from our friendship? What about the challenging relationships that leave us frustrated and exhausted? How do we love people who simply do not love us in return? Can we be real? There are times when loving others can be painful and difficult. Some days it proves to be really hard work. Friendships are to be cherished, but how are we expected to love when loving others hurts?
What we want to do is simply withdraw. It is much easier that way, isn’t it? I mean after all, if they do not love us, will they even notice our feelings are on mute? Will anyone know? We can distance ourselves from the people who are hard to love. There you go! Problem solved. Well, not so fast. Let’s look back at John 13:34. Jesus said,
“As I have loved you…”.
While we may be able to fool some, we cannot fool the One who showed us how loving one another is to be done.
What are we going to do with that phrase – as I have loved you? Jesus loved us when we did not love Him. He loves us when we behave badly. His love is constant even when He does not hear much from us anymore. He is our friend when we are not much of a friend to Him. He experienced this pain. He understands far better than we do that love hurts. Matter of fact, He hurt all the way to the cross. I Corinthians 13 – the love chapter – depicts what His kind of love - agape love - looks like. It is how we are to love others even when loving others hurts. Paul describes it as a giving, selfless, expect-nothing-in-return kind of love.
- Love that does not quit even when it would be easier to give up on a friendship.
- Love that places others before our own needs.
- Love that is hard to offend, not over-sensitive or easily provoked.
- Love that remains constant and sees others as God sees them.
There may be relationships that need healthy boundaries. We may have people who no longer want to be our friends. We are sure to have challenging individuals in our lives. No matter the situation, we are to love others - “as I have loved you” – unconditionally. It is a heart issue for us. It is a choice we are commanded to make. It means deciding to love those who have not earned our love. It means learning to love as Jesus loves. It takes hard work and it means enduring some heartache.
So, what are we to do when loving others hurts? We are to love them and we are to love them well. It may take sacrifice and it will surely require grace, but we love because He is love. We love because He first loved us. We love because we are in love with Him and He has given us this commandment…
“as I have loved you… love one another”.