In 1975, the rock group Nazareth released the song, Love Hurts. It was a huge hit on the radio, and is still played today on classic rock stations.
We were driving on the highway a couple of weeks ago and that song came on the radio. It stuck in my head for several hours. Then I started wondering how love hurts?
It seems to me that the hurt comes from the denial of, misuse of, or withdrawal of love. The statement, “I love him/her so much it hurts”, is really a fear of the loss of love, rather than love itself. Pure love cannot hurt. 1 John 4:7-16 explains that “Love is from God” and “God is love”.
Pain or loss are the results of darkness, fear, rejection, selfishness, and an array of negative emotions and actions. Love is the never-ending flow of life from God.
We were created in love, sustained by love, redeemed by love, and will be loved for all eternity. “God loved the world so much, that He gave His only Son, so that all who believe in Him may never die, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, paraphrased)
The Old and New Covenants between humans and God were both initiated by God as the result of love. God has not always approved of human actions, but God has always loved us.
When humans withhold or withdraw love from one another, the result is anger, darkness, blaming, mutual retaliation, and more. The fear of the loss of love brings the same results, even if the loss does not happen.
That fear wrecks lives every day. The loss of love feels like the loss of approval. We feel less-than adequate when love is withheld or withdrawn. Growing in the image of Christ reduces the fear of the loss of love.
As we seek the knowledge of God by study, prayer, and worship, we grow into knowing that God loves us. Our value is not dependent on the love of other humans, but is supported by the real love that comes from God.
The word, love, is often misunderstood in our society. A brief scan of Strong’s Concordance of the Bible indicates eight different Greek words that have been translated as love. The most common is agape’ (ah-ga’-pay), and it refers to a love of principle, benevolence, charity, and dear love.
This is the love demonstrated by Jesus Christ, and the love He instructed His followers to practice. This kind of love does not depend on how you feel about someone. It is a constant love that does not waiver.
When we realize that God loves us with agape’ love, we will begin to recognize our value and potential. We will become better equipped to share agape’ love with others, and we will begin to let-go of the fears surrounding the loss of love. Remember, God loves you, no matter what, and the Episcopal Church welcomes you.
Blessings and Peace to you,
Rev. Dr. David Bridges is the pastor at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Grove. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.