Friday, 18 October 2013

The Decision to Love Someone

Henri Nouen
“Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain.”
Henri Nouwen

Perhaps you have been fortunate enough to love someone deeply without the associated pain to which Nouwen refers.  However most of us have experienced pain to some degree be it with our spouse, our children and/or parents. 
Why?  (That’s a complete sentence)

I think the reason love exposes us to the potential for great pain (or joy) is because we have a huge emotional investment in that person, in that relationship. When it comes to pain the person with whom we have this strong affinity may have let us down, they may have lied to us or deceived us, and they may have said or done something that was cruel.  It is possible that they abandoned us – physically or emotionally.
If we have truly loved the person we have most likely been vulnerable and transparent.  When someone who we allow to get that close to us inflicts pain on us we feel as though we have been violated in some way.  In each instance there is a type of loss.  It may feel as though we have been rejected.  We may feel embarrassed. We may be angry and feel as though we have been taken advantage of.

Where is God in all of this?

He is in the midst of your pain.  There is no one who loves you more than God- no one!  There are times when we bring Him great joy, there are times when we hurt Him terribly.  If there is any question about His investment in us you need only remember the cross.  He knows emotional and physical pain.  He knows rejection.  He hurts when we hurt as does any parent who loves their child.

When hurt, some of us vow to never let anyone else get that close to us again.

Human relationships can be very messy.  Loving our neighbor (or husband or wife) as we love ourselves is a concept that at best we understand on an intellectual level.  But we are incapable of truly loving someone else so fully without the Holy Spirit.

If you have been deeply wounded by another seek the Spirit of God.  Ask God to heal your broken heart and to enable you to forgive the person who has hurt you so.

Deciding never to love again is never a healthy option.  God is love and He designed us to love and God is intimately familiar with the potential cost associated with love.We must remind ourselves that we can also experience great joy by taking a risk and becoming fully known by another. 

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