Afraid of Love - Afraid to Love
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us . . . There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life— fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first. - 1 John 4:17-19 (The Message)
Why are we afraid of love and afraid to love? In most cases, it is because we have been hurt. We have experienced rejection. We have been abandoned. And so we withdraw. We protect ourselves. We close off to others. We are tentative, hesitant, cautious, and suspicious. “Hurt me once – shame on you. Hurt me twice – shame on me.” That is how our thinking goes.
C.S. Lewis has penetrating words on this protective strategy:
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable. (The Four Loves)
How have you experienced hurt and rejection?
What has this done to your heart?
What protective strategies have you fallen into?
What healing have you found in the love of God?
The Generous Presence of God/God Is Love
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! - 1 John 3:1
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. - Ephesians 1:7-8
What are some of the ways you have experienced God as a generous presence of love? Or, how has God lavished his love on you?
God loves you deeply, recklessly, extravagantly.
Is this actually true?
Do you believe these words?
How thoroughly do you believe this?
How has this kind of love changed you?
Surrender to Love
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. - Luke 1:38
When we are afraid to love, we withdraw and protect ourselves. We dare not take a step of faith and trust. And therein lies our deepest problem and our greatest need.
We must accept the risk of love and choose to trust another and their offer of love.
Mary surrenders to the will of God. She does not fully understand this is a surrender to love. As you read Mary’s Song of Praise in Luke 1:46-55, you see Mary beginning to understand what the love of God means.
Have you surrendered to the love of God?
How fully have you surrendered to God’s love?
Are you sensing a new invitation for a deeper surrender?
What will you do?
The Generous Presence of You
See the story of Joseph in Matthew 1:18-25 for how he had agenerous, gracious, trusting presence/love for Mary and herunborn baby.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:16-18
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:7-12
The gospel is powerful and transformative beyond understanding. How powerful? How transformative? Enough so that you too can become a generous presence of love for the sake of others. As the generous presence of love fills you, it remakes you into its image and nature. That is the awe-inspiring beauty of salvation!
What is Jesus inviting you to do?
This Christmas there are many people who need a generous presence of love. They hurt. They are afraid. They have been rejected. They have withdrawn. Keep your eyes, ears, and heart open to the sadness of the world, and be ready to show to others the wonders of His love.
There are no more powerful and beautiful evidences of thegenerous presence of God’s love than the manger and the cross. In communion, we enjoy the deep, deep, love of God. God with us and God dying for us. Rising again on the third day and now with you forever – an abiding, generous, transformative presence. So rejoice and be glad. Be in love.
- Songs We Sing
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