Loving others is truly a reflection of our hearts. One of the most difficult parts about love is that it requires us to look beyond ourselves to truly to see ourselves. Sometimes we don’t want to see what we look like and how our lives reflect in somebody else’s because it can show us how damaged, broken, and fragile we are. Love shows us who we are. Quite often, what we see sends us running because it is difficult when you have to face yourself- especially when the image staring back at you is not Christ-like.
Though this can be painful to accept, I thank God for the reflection and the images that He shows me daily because it allows me to take a good look at myself. Seeing the reflection of our own brokenness in the lives of others helps us to be more gracious and merciful just like Christ was. Learning to love does not equal mental, emotional, physical or verbal harm. Past hurts can become a comfortably damaging hiding place that creates victims rather than victors.
As a result of our fear, we can find ourselves going back to the same hurtful things in order to protect ourselves. I say this from personal experience. For example, I have been afraid to love and be loved. I may also criticize or point out the negative things about a person so that they cannot get too close to me. What is funny, is that sometimes when you feel yourself getting close to a break through or freedom, it can be scary. And sometimes we go back to hurtful people and situations that have continuously rejected us as a result.
There is a man on Instagram that I follow named Restored Prodigal. Restored Prodigal recently posted a quote that truly pierced my heart. He said, “You’ll never truly know how damaged a person is until you try to love them.” This blew my mind because it is so true. Think about it. There are people that you try to get close to and they continuously push you away, even when your love is coming from a genuine place. What I realized is that these people are afraid. Here is my thought pattern: I would rather be by myself because this way I do not have to deal with people. If I am imperfect, there is no one there to remind me of it, but God is always there, and He sees. Restored Prodigal also said, “Unfortunately, we seem to embrace the pain and when love comes along, we kick and scream until it goes away. I guess it is scary when light enters into the dark.”
When we have been hurt, we tend to live with the expectation of getting hurt again in one way or another. We spend our lives flinching because we think we are going to get hit by something or someone.
Whatever it is that you may be running from, know that it is keeping you from the love you so desire.
LORD, show us the way and make things plain and clear in your way and timing. Help us to be present with an open heart and mind so that we can learn from you. You are a mighty God and in your arms, we will find gracious mercy and loving kindness. Teach us how to love fearlessly, sharing the gift your graciousness with others, and being kinder to ourselves. I pray that we are no longer afraid to let your light shine in our lives so we look more like you daily. Let us understand that you are our peace and in you we can find rest.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light (Psalm 36:7-9 ESV).