They say that it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.
I didn’t used to believe that.
It seemed to me that the losing part could outweigh the loving part pretty easily. Because when you throw your heart and soul into a relationship with someone who walks away and leaves you with a busted up heart on your sleeve, the pain of it is enough to make you wish you’d never loved in the first place.
It makes you want to keep your heart close and leave others at a nice, safe distance from it. That way, if you lose someone, you won’t be as hurt.
It’s neutral. It’s safe. It even works on people who have never hurt you because it operates on the assumption that, because other people have hurt you in the past, you will be hurt again.
It’s a pre-emptive strike.
And it’s fear. Sheer terror of loss and the grief that it brings.
Dr. Larry Crabb says it’s trying to meet a real need in a sinful way.
The sin of self-protection…occurs when our legitimate thirst for receiving love creates a demand not to be hurt that overrides a commitment to lovingly involve ourselves with others. When that demand for self-protection interferes with our willingness to move towards others with their well-being in view, then the law of love is violated.
No Loss No Love
I’m facing loss this week. I’m losing two little people I’ve come to love very much. I couldn’t hold them at arms length. They couldn’t thrive in that kind of love. I had to go all in.
And so I did.
Now the intensity of my love is matched by the intensity of my loss.
But God is here and we are walking the brokenness together. He knows what it feels like to lay your heart on the line and that’s really comforting.
Loss is no fun at all, but it is survivable.
And I can say with all sincerity that to have loved and lost truly is better than to have never had the joy of loving them at all.
I would not have traded the opportunity to know and love these two little people for anything.
And that has me thinking…maybe I could feel that way about other people if I am brave enough to love a little more fearlessly…
Ripening Into Love
Fear holds love at arms length. But love casts out fear.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. I John 4:18
This is not saying that those of us who fear, don’t really love at all. But rather, that fear has no place in love.
Ok…but what about our hearts? How can we sacrifice them on the altar of love when past hurts have taught us that vulnerability should be avoided at all costs?
There is no easy way. And there’s no way to do it without getting hurt because people are just human. People aren’t perfect. It’s perfect love that casts out fear. Not perfect people.
The word “perfect” in 1 John 4:18 carries the idea of completion or maturity. We can mature into a less fearful way of loving. And maturity takes time. Often a lot of time.
Progress is slow…real progress usually is. Dr. Larry Crabb
Time passes annoyingly slow sometimes, but God uses time to heal wounds and mature our love. In time, we can become people that love a little more fearlessly, a little more fully. A little more like Jesus.