The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 11/24

Posted on | November 24, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 11/24

Scripture reading: John 13:21–38

No Pain . . . Guaranteed!

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3)

 

News flash! I have a sure-fire, bona fide, money-back guaranteed way for you to live a life without pain. It’s cheaper and easier than all those fancy remedies proposed by medical and psychological professionals. Oh, I can’t promise you freedom from physical pain. That simply can’t happen until heaven. But I can promise that if you follow my advice, you will be free from all that emotional and relational pain that comes when other people hurt and disappoint you.

Do you want to know how? OK, I’ll tell you: Never ever give your heart to anyone! That’s right, never love someone else. It’s just too risky. When you love, you get hurt. It’s that simple. So, if you want to avoid being hurt by someone ever again, then follow my instructions carefully: stop loving. It really works! Stop the love, and you stop the hurt.

You may be reticent to follow my counsel, dubious that I don’t know what I’m talking about. But consider the words of someone much wiser and more mature than I am. In his book The Four Loves, C. S. Lewis states the matter this way:

 

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart 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. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all dangers and perturbation of love is hell.

 

Though few people are as insightful or articulate, many in our world understand exactly what Lewis is saying. They have made a choice (conscious or unconscious) to stop loving. For their own protection, they refuse to give their heart to anyone.

It’s just safer that way. They tried love once and got really hurt. And so they have come to what appears to be a logical and rational conclusion: I’ll never do that again!

 

But imagine a world where everyone came to this conclusion.  A world in which everyone refused to love would be a world where people lived alone, isolated and insulated from one another. Such a world would be hell (literally!).

 

Aren’t you glad that Jesus shows us another way. He took the risk of loving people like us. And of course, he got hurt in the process . . . really hurt. But it was out of his wounds that we can find healing and the courage to love. Because he took the risk, you can too. So go ahead. There are things in life much worse than pain . . . much worse.

For Christians, the cross stands as an ever-present reminder

that love and suffering are two sides of the same coin.—James C. Fenhagen

 

 

point to ponder Is there some area of your life where, to protect yourself from being hurt, you have made a decision to stop loving?

 

prayer focus The courage to love.

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