By Erika Daly Wedemeyer
Love is a shield. When you wear this perfect love, you are protected.
Wait a minute?! What are you saying? How is this true? Don't you know I've been burned by "love", I have a whole story to prove it! Don't you know the people I trusted and allowed to love me also pained me? Betrayed me? Cut me so deep... I never wanted to "love" again! How can you say this?
We've all been taught that love is a feeling or a response to someone else's feeling. It started when we were all young. You learn affection from your parents or other family members and friends. You have the moments of success and everyone is on a high, hugs go around or longer embraces with shouts from that feeling of success. You may also have learned to avoid giving love when that other person was in a place of irritability or not wanting you too close. You felt the need to express love, and they shoved you away or yelled at you. We learned that this feeling of love can be controlled, manipulated, or used as a weapon.
I, like many of you, believed love was only a feeling. And yet, I hated that concept. Because I too have been burned by that kind of "love". I learned from that concept, you gotta look out for yourself, don't be vulnerable for too long, protect yourself, and always think before you give love away... (there are so many other thoughts that go with this concept. But isn't it true, what you believe you put out in action?) Feeling love and living from that perspective is dangerous! We all know this because at one time or another we've been burned or cut so deep by that feeling some call love.
I began to wonder why Jesus love hung Him there on the cross for me. I have not experienced that physical pain, but the smaller physical pains I've endured I wasn't thinking about giving to someone in the midst of feeling that particular pain. Why does the Bible describe this as love? If love is only a feeling, how did Jesus do that? Sure, He's God right? God in man, but the Bible also says Jesus experienced and felt everything we did, even temptation. So Jesus felt every point of His beating, torture and crucifixion. He could not have been feeling love while enduring all He did to the cross. He chose love because He believed we were the joy set before Him. He believes we are worth it! He gave Himself in our place because love is a choice. He chose to love us before we wanted to love Him.
Look at 1 John 4:18 TPT: “Love never brings fear, for fear is always related to punishment. But love’s perfection drives the fear of punishment far from our hearts. Whoever walks constantly afraid of punishment has not reached love’s perfection.”
Fear has to do with punishment. Every time I felt rejection, betrayal, or the wrath of someone else's choices, it wasn't the feeling of love it was fear. I agree, fear has to do with punishment. And I have been in that place of fear and feeling punishment. I was burned by fear, not love. When betrayed, it was fear that made me feel alone and abandoned. When I have been rejected, it was fear that cut me and hurt me so deeply. When I have endured someone else's wrath, it was fear that made me want to shrink back and give up.
When I believe God is love. And see His example of love, I can no longer believe love is only a feeling. This means, I can wrap this love around me and be protected. This love drops fear to its knees, not me. This love helps me stay standing against the pains this life can bring. This love means I'm worth it, you're worth it! This love is amazing and true, there really is nothing else like it. Be loved~
John 15:13 TPT: "For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all. And this great love is demonstrated when a person sacrifices his life for his friends."
1 John 4:7-11 TPT: "Those who are loved by God, let his love continually pour from you to one another, because God is love. Everyone who loves is fathered by God and experiences an intimate knowledge of him. The one who doesn’t love has yet to know God, for God is love. The light of God’s love shined within us when he sent his matchless Son into the world so that we might live through him. This is love: He loved us long before we loved him. It was his love, not ours. He proved it by sending his Son to be the pleasing sacrificial offering to take away our sins. Delightfully loved ones, if he loved us with such tremendous love, then “loving one another” should be our way of life!"