Why is it that there are so many people who just don’t find love?
I mean this in the broadest possible sense. I’m referring to people who exist in loveless relationships, and to people who see only the bad there is in the world and not the loving and the good, and to people who fail to experience the love of God.
Why is that, if the love of God is boundless and surrounds us and is constantly pouring over us? Why is it that some people just don’t find the love of God?
Here’s one reason. It’s because no one can be forced to receive love. You have to let yourself be loved.
I’ve known some of the most saddest people, who have been dearly and deeply loved by their families, but they have simply decided to live in misery. It’s one of the greatest tragedies.
Why is it that people refuse to let themselves be loved? The basic reason is that to be loved is to be willing to lose control. It means to let another in. In the absolute sense, it means to let God in. It subsequently means to let those around you into your life. And that can be terrifying for some.
They are terrified because they have been hurt before, sometimes again and again. Their experience has been like one of those “whack-a-mole” games where every time the critter sticks his head up, it gets whacked down. And because of that, people have learnt to protect their hearts with layers of doubt, pain, and even resentment.
Let yourself be loved deeply
Many of us have gone through different experiences in life which explain why we don’t let ourselves be loved. Looking back on my own life, I realise that one of the greatest desires that I had during my formative years, though unconsciously so, was to be loved by my father. Now as an adult, I realise that he loved me, but that there were reasons why he wasn’t able to express that love.
This turned the focus of my life inward, into constantly trying to be worthy of love. I hid behind the pursuit of academic achievement and the need to always be right. My focus was so much on myself that to a large extent I lost the ability to be truly open to others, and to realise just how much I really was appreciated and loved.
I don’t know what it was in the life of Jesus’ disciple Peter, but he didn’t let himself be loved either. Peter hid behind his brash and impetuous actions. He was interjecting himself forward in every situation. But all of that was just a front, a façade to cover the true needs of his heart. And all along, the Lord just wanted Peter to let him in so that he could show him his love.
Think of everything that Peter went through. But in the end, Peter understood. That’s why towards the end of his first epistle, he wrote these words:
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8, NIV).
Like Peter, let yourself be loved. Let yourself be loved deeply. Then you will be able to learn what it means to love others with that same love. I’m sure there’s lots of good advice that you will receive in your life, but this is the most important. It’s “above all.”
Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez.
About the Author: Dr Eli Gonzalez is the Senior Pastor of Good News Unlimited and the presenter of the Unlimited radio spots, and The Big Question.