February 13, 2009

Real Love Hurts 
by Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Entertainment Editor

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
1 John 3:16, NIV

So THIS is love, I thought. 

I was only about nine years old at the time, but I just knew that I was experiencing real love when I gazed at my first crush. He was a good church boy with blond hair and brown eyes. I don't remember his name now, but at the time I just knew it was written on my heart. 

A few years later, seasons and feelings had changed and another church boy caught my attention. He was new to our congregation and a year older than me. And when he sang a duet with his older sister in our Sunday evening service, I was hooked. I would pine away for this boy 'til we were both in high school. And finally, when I was 15, he asked me out. 

Real love? Hardly. It was infatuation all the way. And I ended things with him a few months later when I got "tired" of him. As the years went by, I did more of this with other young men - usually as preemptive strikes so that I would never get hurt. 

See the pattern? Well, fast forward a couple of decades to recently when my tried-and-true method didn't work out so well for me. I got dumped first! And I never saw it coming. I was pursued, wined and dined and showered with gifts. But these outward actions were not very tell-tale of what was going on internally with my suitor. It was all a whirlwind act that couldn't last more than a couple of months, and it didn't.

I was crushed. Hurt beyond measure. But by what? By real love gone wrong? Not really. There was no love there - just selfish desires connecting two emotionally unhealthy and hurting people for a short while. 

It took this dumping for me to finally wake up and see how I had been treating others for all of these years. I only stayed in a relationship until I got what I wanted, and then I was out. This is and was not love.

Love is not what I'm getting out of a relationship. It's about my will, my choice to love others and give of myself.

The Lord wants us all to see what real love is and that it requires great sacrifice and that it does hurt and make us uncomfortable to love in the way he has loved us. In short, real love is this: A Savior, who became a man and died for the sins of you and me and the rest of the world. 

May we all be encouraged to open our hearts, sacrifice and show real love toward one another because He first loved us.

Intersecting Faith & Life:  Get ready to turn tomorrow (Valentine's Day) into "Real Love Day," as you switch your focus from getting to giving. Make a phone call to someone you need to forgive or ask forgiveness from; invite that irritating coworker out for lunch; grab the duster and clean house for a shut-in; or make some homemade cookies and take them to the neighbor you've always avoided or never met. 

Further Reading

John 13:35
How's Your Love Life?