It’s something I have heard way too many times in my life. Every time I have heard those words, they’ve come from the mouth of a person who has been burned by someone who ‘loved’ them.
The definition of love has been so watered down and distorted that when a lot of people think about love, they aren’t anywhere close to the real thing. Love has nothing to do with how long you’ve been in a relationship, whether you have a child with someone, or even romance at all.
There are four different words for love in Greek, and each describes a different kind of love. Agape is the word that describes sacrificial love, and without Agape love, you really can’t show any of the other kinds. From here on, when I refer to love, this is the kind I am talking about. It’s not a feeling you get; it’s a choice.
Too many people believe the lie that their relationships are loving simply because those words are exchanged. Too many young people are seeking the perfect rom-com happy ending and winding up disappointed because he or she said they loved them and broke their heart anyway. I’ve seen people write off all forms of love completely for that very reason.
I guess I’m writing this because I don’t want to see anyone else blame love for being hurt.
We are selfish. All of us. It’s in our nature to be that way, and it’s usually out of selfishness that we hurt people…sometimes even on purpose. I know that since I’ve known my husband there have been several times I said something or gave him the silent treatment because I knew it would hurt him. I’m not proud of that, but it’s the truth.
Do I love my husband? Absolutely.
Do I choose love every time I interact with him? Nope.
Is that okay? No.
So what gives? Well, what gives is that Jesus has redeemed me, but I don’t always deny the desires of my flesh (my nature) because sometimes it feels good. Sometimes I choose my nature over Jesus. Sometimes I forget that I was made for more. Sometimes I don’t want to do what God has called me to because loving, really loving, is hard and takes effort.
As I pursue the Lord and what He wants for me, I learn to love better. God has taught me a lot about love in my 24 years.
And I’ve learned something that might surprise you.
Love does hurt. But not in the way you think. Love hurts in the way it stretches me and produces growth. Love hurts in the way it calls me to put others before myself. Love hurts deep in my chest when I want to help, but I know I need to take a step back. Love causes me to ache for those who are hurting. And love hurts when there are people who don’t want to receive it.
But the most important thing I have learned about love (real love) is that it is always always ALWAYS worth it. Every time. Even when it hurts.
Will you choose to love anyway?