I’ve been talking about what love is according to the Bible. Adam and Eve set the course for love in marriage, and the Bible tells men to love their wives and women to respect their husbands. Now, I want to discuss the wordly issues that can get in the way of our ability to love.
We are all born with the capability to love and the desire to be loved. That love can be crushed, poisoned, and tarnished before we reach adulthood. Many of us come from dysfunctional childhoods where love was withheld or displayed improperly.
Inadequate feelings of childhood love often cause poor self esteem or sense of worth. You need to love who you are (yourself) before you can truly love someone else. Our sense of worth is often only realized when we invite God into our lives and discover what love really is. His unconditional love for us is the ultimate example of true love.
This love of yourself sounds contradictory to the previous references to self mentioned in earlier blog postings. Self-esteem influences our personality and how we perceive ourselves. This part of self is a crucial part of our emotional health.
To be complete, we need to be at ease and accepting of who we are and who God made us to be. We need to feel worthy of our selves in order to reach out to others, in order to truly love someone else.
The negative aspect of self (as described in earlier postings) is when we place our self-interest and welfare ahead of others, ahead of God’s desires for our lives. That’s when “self” becomes “selfish”. Our selfishness can interfere with our ability to love.
We harbor inaccurate ideas on love in our minds, not realizing the damage they can do if not dealt with. Along with other harmful experiences, we build up a reservoir of hurt that we carry around as excess baggage.
If we don’t empty that baggage, through proper counseling, or even better, through God, our reservoir can get so full it may cripple our capacity to love and relate to others. People often carry this baggage from one marriage to the next, only filling it with more “stuff”, unable to ever engage in a healthy marriage relationship.
The divorce rate in our country is at 50% and 60% in the state of Florida. In second marriages, 75% will wind up in divorce. For third marriages, that rate rises to 85% and 93% for fourth marriages.
Jesus died on the cross to free us from our sins, yet we allow our minds to be held captive to wrong ideas that prevent us from living the wonderful life God intended for us. We entrap ourselves in legalisms, the opinions of others, wrong priorities, and past hurts and experiences, to name a few. We get caught up in worldly ideas that will enslave us if we lose sight of our walk with God.
The chains that bind us are often related to some kind of fear. The fears of rejection, failure, success, and even of people. They prevent us from becoming the person God meant us to be. Fear is the opposite of faith. It is believing what the devil tells you and putting your faith in him.
More to come on the ability to love...