Loving Brings Pain

by Jan Silvious

Loving Brings Pain

If you have ever felt that it hurts too much to risk loving, consider these words by C.S. Lewis:

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully around 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, irredemmable...The only place outside heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is hell!

Have you been so hurt by someone you love that you have withdrawn from all caring, loving relationships? If so, my heart goes out to you, but let me warn you that I have never known anyone who has shut himself off who has succeeded in gaining anything but misery and loneliness.

It is painful to see people you love make choices that will hurt them. It is painful to watch people you love suffer physical and emotional pain. It is painful to be rejected by people you love. Loving is painful. Yet, God created us to "love one another."

Read these words from the Scriptures: "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing" (1 Cor. 13:1-3).

It is actually possible to be closed off from intimate loving relationships with other people and yet do many good things that will substitute for the courage and stamina it takes to be a part of someone's life on an ongoing basis. If you practice religious devotion, good works, or even sacrifice yourself for the sake of others and yet fail to allow yourself to love and be loved in a vulnerable and risky way, then according to the Scriptures, you are "nothing." You have missed the whole point of loving-giving and sacrificing.

My friend, only you know how willing you are to be vulnerable to other people. Maybe you are shut off from your family, your mate, your child, your friend because loving has caused too much discomfort. Trust God and run the risk. You may be surprised to find that in dying to yourself, you are more fully alive than you have ever been!

From the 5-Minute Devotional
©Zondervan 1991