How do you want to be loved? What keeps you from loving others as you want to be loved?
We should first look at the gold standard for how we should love other people, according to the Bible. 1 Corinthians 13 (ESV) is the love chapter: “4) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. 5) It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6) it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in the world loved like this? How about if our family members love us like this? What prevents us from loving like this?
When we don’t love as described above, it creates hurt and offenses in our heart and wounds in our soul. An offense is an act of creating resentment, hurt feelings, displeasure, etc. The painful memories we store come from offenses of not being loved, valued, and accepted. Children are most vulnerable to the influence of love or the lack-there-of and are easily hurt when these three desires are unmet. When felt love is with-held, we develop insecurities and control issues. Insecurity creates unhealthy beliefs, which are lies about life, ourselves, others, and God, that are carried into adulthood. Because of these painful memories from childhood, we are tempted to get involved in relationships that would continue the pain of not getting these same needs met. I was one of those people, and my first marriage ended in divorce.
When people’s hearts are empty of love, they try to get their need for love, value, and acceptance through other insecure people with empty hearts. Unfortunately, many people have hurts and offenses in their hearts so they cannot give the love, value, and acceptance we want and they also want. This leaves each person feeling rejected, resentful, angry, sad, depressed, hurt, frustrated, betrayed, disconnected, etc., which block our ability to love from a pure heart. The fact is, only God can perfectly meet our need for love, value, and acceptance.
Since the Bible is the authority on what love is, it is also the authority on God’s love: 1 John 4:8 & 16a says that God is love; and we are made in His image and likeness (see Gen. 1:26); therefore, we are created to love and be loved but because of evil and sin in the world, we become void of genuine love and the ability to love from a pure heart. In fact, the bible says that God abounds in steadfast love and faithfulness—Psalms 86:15 says, “But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious (compassionate), slow to anger and abounding in steadfast (unfailing, abundant) love and faithfulness (truth).” God also said this same thing about himself in Ex. 34:6. The words “steadfast love” is recorded 398 times in the English Standard Version of the Bible, which is closely translated from the original texts. Additionally, God loves us sacrificially (see 1 John 4:10, 16-21; Rom. 5:8; John 15:13; 1 John 3:16-18; John 3:16). In return, we are to love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls (see Deut. 6:5; 10:12; 11:13; 13:3; 30:6; Joshua 22:5; Matt. 22.37; Mark 12:30), which we cannot do when our hearts are full of offenses and hate. Not only are we to love God, but we are to love others (see 1 John 4:7-11,12; Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:39; Mark 12:32; John 13:34; Rom. 13:9). In fact, loving others is the fulfillment of the law (see James 2:8; Rom. 13:8,10; Gal. 5:14).
How can we love from a pure heart: 1 Peter 1:22 & 23 says, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth (found in the Bible) for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23) since you have been born again (1 Pet. 1:3), not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding Word of God.” (also see Heb. 4:12, which says, “the Word of God is living and active…“) 1Timothy 1:5 says, “The aim of our charge (goal of our instruction; NAS) is love that comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere (genuine) faith.” 2 Timothy 2:22 also says, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” To learn how to love from a pure heart, please visit my website, hopeforcompletehealing.com where you will find research and examples of how to purify your heart and mind from the many offenses you have stored up over your lifetime. These methods have been tried and are incredibly successful.
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P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).