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Love is Free. Intimacy is Earned.
When I chat with people who’ve been emotionally wounded, I tend to observe a pattern. They often say, “When I love, I get hurt.” However, this isn’t true. When we love, we become stronger – even when people don’t love us back. But when we’re intimate with people, we expose our hearts – and open ourselves up to pain.
Give Them What They Deserve
Today, honor is a lost concept. Children (of all ages) insult their parents, employees bad-mouth their supervisors, citizens disparage the President, and disrespect is casually thrown. Yet, we know this isn’t God’s way of doing things. The Bible teaches us to honor authority. That entails respecting someone’s position, even when we don’t think they “deserve” respect.
Is it True?
Let God Heal Your Broken Heart
Love can hurt – literally. Having a broken heart can feel more painful than having several broken bones. In fact, “broken heart syndrome” is a real medical condition that can cause chest pains, shortness of breath, and even congestive heart failure. That means you can’t allow yourself to sink when life delivers unbearable disappointment.
Psalm 34:18 teaches, “The Lord is close to those who have suffered disappointment. He saves those who are discouraged” (Easy-to-Read Version). Therefore, whatever you’re facing, the Lord wants to reach down and lift you up. There is no pit too deep, too awful, or too shameful for God to reach in and pull you out.
Not So Fast!
If you’re an outspoken woman, I can relate. Like a village lawyer, you’re usually the first person to speak up, and people run to you for help when they don’t have the ability (or guts) to speak up for themselves. If this describes you, Proverbs 31:8 should be your life’s motto: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed” (New Living Translation). – But wait a minute! Not so fast!
It Begins at Home
Sometimes it’s easier to love strangers than it is to love family members. Let’s be honest: Our biological families can get on our last nerves! Some relatives take us for granted, only call when they need something, and drag us into mess that we don’t want to be a part of. – But, the Bible teaches that we can’t turn our back on our families.
We all make mistakes – mistakes that we regret, mistakes that haunt us, and mistakes that are tough to let go. And forgiving ourselves can be difficult. Not only are we subject to the criticism of others, we’re inclined to judge ourselves. Guilt caused David to cry out, "I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me" (Psalm 51:3, New American Standard Bible).
In His likeness, Not Ours
It's common for people to proudly boast that they are finally becoming their "true selves." In the Kingdom of God, however, maturity is measured by the extent to which we become less of ourselves, and more like Christ. He is our identity. In fact, the Bible teaches that we “must become less and less, and He [Christ] must become greater and greater”