Baby, Don't Hurt Me (Love doesn't insist on its own way)

Baby, Don't Hurt Me (Love doesn't insist on its own way)

Timing is everything, don’t you agree? I love that I’m writing this post today, it truly is divinely, perfectly timed. We’re talking about Love. Real Love. Love is and isn’t a lot of things, one thing that Love doesn’t do (according to our 1 Corinthians list) is insist on its own way.

To say “Love isn’t selfish”, is true, but perhaps overly simplistic. While selfishness certainly isn’t a characteristic of Love, I don’t think this “isn’t” is primarily about a negative to avoid, but a positive to embrace. I love that this verse specifies that true Love does not insist on its own way. It doesn’t force anything on anyone. At it’s core, Love gives options – even when there is only one right answer. Love offers free will. This is what God, who is perfect Love, offers us.

One might think that God, who is perfect and all knowing has the right to insist on His own way. Doesn’t He do that? Yes and no. Without getting too deeply theological, God has absolute will and permissive will. There are some things in our life and history as a whole that are just going to happen. Period. That’s just the way it is. But there are many, many areas of our life that God lays out options. Generally speaking the options are obedience or disobedience, but sometimes I think God really just gives us the opportunity to pick a path and follow it.

God asks us to Love Him. God wants everyone to Love Him. There isn’t one human alive that God looks at and says, “I don’t want you.” Not one. However, not everyone accepts His invitation. Not everyone wants to Love Him. There are many humans who look at God and say, “I don’t want You.” And that’s their choice, because God, who is Love, doesn’t insist we accept His affection.

We are most like God when we openly give people the choice to love us, or not. We are most like God when we allow people the option of pleasing us, or not. We best reflect God’s love when we don’t insist people choose as we would… even when it’s right. This is probably one of the most difficult aspects of Love – choice.

Choice is so difficult because it carries with it the likely possibility of danger. It takes the control over our safety right out of our hands and places it squarely in the hands of someone else. And that’s risky. Really, really risky. And that’s why fear (perhaps the antithesis of Love) controls – because control feels safe – but it is not Love.

Perfect Love casts out fear. There is no place for control in Love. Love draws people to itself not by control but through freedom. And so, as we seek to live and walk in Love, do we offer that freedom to others? Do we expose ourselves to possible rejection by allowing people the freedom to respond to us in love or choose to not? I think of it like the difference between restraining someone in a tight hold verse opening your arms wide and allowing them to hug you. The first accomplishes the end result – contact –  but simultaneously creates resistance. The second allows for freedom, but also opens you up for a death blow to the heart.

I guess, when put that way there’s no easy way to love someone. But there is a right way – the way that God Loves us – with “arms wide open, a heart exposed”, come what may.