Saturday, April 17, 2010

is love a four letter word?

Someone please tell me why we humans are afraid of love. Some of us.

Is it because someone, somewhere along the line in our lives, said, ‘I love you’ and then proceeded to abandon us - either literally or mentally/emotionally?

Is it because someone, somewhere… etc… said, ‘I love you’ then beat us and blamed us for the beating? Or raped us and then said it was our fault because we enticed them?

Is it because someone, somewhere… etc… said ‘I love you’ then betrayed us, talked about us behind our backs, vilified and slandered us to others?

Is it because someone, somewhere… etc… said ‘I love you’ then manipulated us…

and controlled us…

and shamed us…


just generally made life miserable?

Is it because those someones, somewhere who said, ‘I love you’ lived with us in such ways that we were constantly in fear of their displeasure and disappointment?

Is it because of a multitude of reasons I have not named? Because of something so deep in the psyche of man that it has no name? Just a commonality among us all?

Is it possible the “some of us” for whom ‘love’ is a four-letter word, have transferred that feeling/reaction/gut-level pain/fear about love to our relationship with God? To our understanding of Who He is? To what He is made of? To the stuff of His character?

I tend to think it not only possible, put highly likely.

The ‘some of us’ picture Him as being somewhere in the character-realm of emotionally distant, ready to beat us with His spiritual fists, blaming us for His anger toward us, manipulative, controlling, shaming, vindictive, needing to be appeased - an all around fearsome Being.

Not one with whom we want to get close. To say the least.

Let’s change that ‘some of us’ to ‘most of us’. We humans have taken He Who is purely love, and made Him into something far removed from the truth of Who He is - as far as the east is from the west.

We have taken the gospel - the breathtakingly good news - and we have bent it, twisted it, and mangled it into a message of fear. The good news that He loves us with an undying, unchanging, unconditional, unflappable love is overwhelmed by the noise of our understanding and experience of love.

Because of love, and Who He is, He came to make the way for us to be included in the incredibly joyful fellowship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

But we fear to even consider this kind of love - because we know it does not exist - it cannot be trusted. It just might make God too good.

We tend to wave it away when someone brings up the passages about God and love. ‘Yes, but…’ we reply. If not aloud - silently in our minds - we deny what those three words, God is love, could really mean. We deny the possibility of His love being true.

We know that not everyone who says ‘I love you’ can really be trusted. It is just words. Words that are so tied to hurt, pain, and emptiness that our gut grips when we hear them.

How can He love us? How can we live in the reality of that love? We dare not believe it is true. We fear lest we be taken in. Again.

It is much safer to relate to Him in the manner of appeasement - do not make waves - be good little boys and girls - and maybe HE will not be angry with us.

Maybe our distrust of love makes us:

fear Who He is - fear what He truly is.

fear how He sees us - fear what He thinks of, feels for, and wants from us.

fear …

fear …

Him …

fear …

Love. Himself.

In Ephesians, Paul prays that Christ would dwell in their hearts - that they would be rooted and grounded in love.

That they, being rooted and grounded in this love, would be able to grasp and understand the love of Christ. To understand to the full the size and shape of that love.

Do you suppose we can put our names in these passages? Do you suppose we could pray that Christ would dwell in our hearts - that we might be rooted and grounded in this love? In His love? That we might understand to the full the incredible dimensions of this love?

This love of Christ, he says, which passes all knowledge?

Do we dare?

Do we dare to hope that love really is good? And doesn’t hurt? And doesn’t betray? Or lie? Or abandon?

Do we dare to believe that His love could possibly surpass all our earthly knowledge and experience of the failings of love?

He says that when we are rooted and grounded in this love - the love of Christ - rooted and grounded in Love Himself - when this happens - we would be filled unto all the fullness of God.

He says that as this happens, we would be coming to know, to learn personally, to experience the very agapē of Christ. That as we are rooted and grounded in love, we come to know love - and as we come to know love, we are more rooted and grounded in love - and on - and on.

And because He is Love - we would be coming to know Love - as it/He is. And be rooted and grounded in Him.

This love - this agapē - sounds like something to be desired - someOne to be desired. The knowledge and experience of something - of someOne - this Love - above all to be desired. SomeOne beyond the ability of our words to describe and define.

Something beyond our earthly knowledge of love.

This Love - no four letter word as we have known - no hurtful thing - no thing to fear.


Anonymous said...


Old Pete said...

I found your blog several days ago and put it on one side.
I've just been reading through your posts but can't remember how I got here (put it down to my age - I'm 75).
You have commented on 'heavy loads'; you quoted the hymn "Love Divine" which we had at our wedding over 50 years ago ...
I noticed that you referred to your friend Carrie (she and I had email contact a few years ago).
You commented on the baby at the check-out.
Imagine being told by your mother-in-law to be that she didn't approve of the wedding "because you don't love my daughter" - and in one sense she was right!
It was only a couple of years ago that I learned that I had lived with Aspergers Syndrome (or High Functioning Autism) - and most people with AS never get married!

That's enough background - we have obviously been on a similar journey - I found the story of Jake when Wayne and Dave had only written the first three chapters.

I've recently finished rewriting my blog and putting together some of the awkward questions to which there are no easy answers.
At the end of that list I have said that three additional questions have been suggested by friends including 'love'.

This comment is not meant to be published - it's the only way I know of making contact.

Would you like to share your thoughts?