Love Hurts

sacredheartLove hurts? Well, yes and no. Love should never involve abuse or neglect that is psychologically or physically painful. Jesus Christ CHOSE to accept his suffering on the cross. He CHOSE to lay down his life for his friends. He accepted abuse FREELY. He had the POWER to walk away. Catholic Martyrs canonized as Saints were like Jesus Christ and had a CHOICE to lay down their lives.

True victims of abuse do not have the power of freewill to make such a choice. The marginalized in society simply have to endure abuse. Abuse and neglect can often be mistaken for love by adults who have suffered traumatic bonding with parent figures. Many women endure abuse that is NOT of God because the emotional highs and lows of traumatic bonds create a pseudo-love. This false love is not holy or of God.

True love can indeed hurt sometimes, but this pain is a purifying pain due to honest feedback that is hopefully given with the Spirit of Truth and Love. In every intimate relationship there will be conflict because we live in a sinful world. This includes marriage, parenting, work environments, as well as our relationship with God our Creator. But in relationships that reflect the image of Christ there is a Spirit of unconditional love and acceptance, not neglect. It is cold-hearted and unloving to slap others with the brutal truth then walk away.

The love of God is merciful and everlasting. This everlasting quality of true love can feel emotionally dull and boring compared to the false love of traumatic bonds. As a hospital chaplain I’ve observed that those who live “boring” lives surrounded by the love of friends and family typically visit the trauma center very infrequently, whereas those who live sensational lives filled with excitement tend to experience much more trauma and unnecessary suffering.

Are there relationships in your life that are reflecting the honest, steady, patient love of Christ? If so give thanks and praise to God for such blessings. If not, are there relationships in your life that reflect the pseudo-love of traumatic bonds? If so, pray for the strength to cooperate with God’s grace to be set free.

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