Love hurts. It’s more than just an old movie, or an even older song. In fact, love doesn’t just hurt, it can be downright heartbreaking.
And that’s on the worst days. Even on good days, love is still a challenge. And messy. And it can be frustrating, agonizing, and maddening.
Which makes you wonder: why do it? Why love? Wouldn’t it be easier to stay at home with the curtains closed, buried in our phones and ipads and TVs?
Yes. It would. It would be easier to close off the challenge of love for the comfort of technology and entertainment.
As anyone who has ever loved someone already knows, when you love, you open yourself to the risk of not being loved in return. Or having your love misused, mistreated, or simply overlooked.
So, why do we do it? Why do we love? Because it is what we are made for. We are made to love — because we were made in the image of the One who invented love; who IS love.
And how has it turned out for God? Well, it certainly hasn’t been easy for God. His love has resulted in pain, in separation — and took a lot of risk. God’s love, expressed most fully and powerfully in Jesus, took him to the cross. A cross that leads to life, for all.
In other words, love by its very definition is life-giving — even when it hurts, when it takes from us, when it calls for more than we have to give. Even in the sacrifices we make to love — even when love requires us to give — in the loving we find what we are made for. And the love becomes a signpost for those we love, even when they can’t see or understand it. And when our loving seems to be in vain, it is not, for even when no one seems to notice or care, our loving is bringing change. First and foremost, in us.
For when you love, really love, you are becoming more human — more like the human you were made by God to be. Even in the pain, you are being shaped into the person you are meant to be. Love is many things, but it is never empty. Or pointless. Or hopeless. For real love always points to the God of Real Love. And helps us become more like him in the process of our loving.
So, keep doing the hard work of loving. Even when it hurts. Or feels unreturned. For with each act of sacrificial, self-giving, others-focused love, you are becoming more like the One Who invented love.