We all have a need to love and be loved. God didn’t intend for us to live in isolation on some deserted, lonely island or as a hermit closed off from others. Yet, some give up on relationships and choose to build a wall around their heart.
And, who can blame someone for protecting themselves from hurt and pain caused by mean-spirited people? Maybe your home of origin required rigid obedience to rules and regulations and punishment if you failed to measure up to expectations with no regard to your feelings. Expressing your feelings of anger were not allowed. You had to deny them and “Stop crying. Be a man, or I will really give you something to cry about.”
Or, maybe you really connected with that special someone and loved deeply and were loved in return only to be abandoned later. It’s risky to give yourself away again.
And then, there is the person so desperate to feel loved, that he/she will stay in a verbally and/or physically abusive relarionship hoping for just a morsel of kindness to be thrown their way and believing that if they stay connected, love will finally come. But, it won’t. The only thing that will come is more pain.
As a result, it’s difficult to reach out and try to build healthy relationships. Without the risk and effort, relationships will be shallow and superficial at best instead of deep and meaningful which is what we all need. Deep meaningful relationships give and receive love and are accepting and affirming even with all of our faults and hang-ups.
We need people who edify and build up us up and us them rather than ones who berate, criticize, and judge us constantly. Nothing we do is ever good enough to please them.
Healthy relationships with safe people are the only contexts where we can experience true love. Yes, some may reject you along the way. But, if you take the risk and boldly step out, eventually, it will lead you to a person or group who will reciprocate love with you.
Jesus took that risk. He boldly reached out in love for us. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). He was not afraid to risk loving us. Was he rejected, disposed, belittled, criticized, and crucified? YES! Why? Because there is no fear in love. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).
Those who can risk to love again after having their heart ground up in a meat grinder are not afraid to attempt to love again. After all, to give love and receive love is one of our basic emotional needs. The risk is worth the potential reward to know the joy of being authentically loved by others.
“I am loved, I am loved, I can risk loving you. For the One who knows me best loves me most. I am loved you are loved. Won’t you please take my hand? We are free to love each other. We are loved.” “I Am Loved” by Bill Gaither.