Faithlife Sermons

Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt

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Mark Twain said, “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.”
Twain was right. You can care for a dog that has been abused. You can love it. You can nurture it. You can feed it. You can call it your own. Despite the pain that this animal has endured and because of your love for it, this dog will become your best friend. He will greet you at the door every day. He will come when you call. And he will be loyal to you until his dying day.
As true as this mutually sacrificial relationship is of dogs, it is not always true of human beings. In fact, I believe the very people we love the most will hurt us the most. We have to learn how to love like we’ve never been hurt.
Someone is going to break your heart. Someone is going to abandon you or leave you. Someone is going to say something hurtful to you. Someone is going to disappoint you. Someone is going to let you down, lie to you, stab you in the back. Someone is going to reject you.
Whatever it is, you have loved hard and were wounded. This someone has cut off your love supply. And you are not living fully, the way God intended, because you do not know how, or if it is even possible, to love like you’ve never been hurt.
It’s easy to love others when we have no conflict with them. Or when we share the same viewpoints. Or the same theology. Or the same standard. It’s easy to love when marriage is in the honeymoon stage, when our children act right all the time, when we have our health and our happiness. But no one lives in that kind of state all the time.
Jesus told us that in this world we would have trouble (). In (NKJV), He even says, “Offenses must come.” Getting hurt is part of life. It’s inevitable. But that is not the end of the story. God does not want us to be the walking wounded. He intended for us to be healed and to be whole. He created us to love like we’ve never been hurt because that is what He does, and we are made in His image.
James Garfield had been the twentieth president of the United States for only four months when he was shot in the back on July 2, 1881, by a would-be assassin. He lived just under three months more. You would think it was the shot that killed him. It wasn’t.
You see, the bullet did not penetrate any vital organs. It got stuck behind his pancreas, but it was not a fatal injury. But back then, doctors weren’t concerned about germs; they did not even believe they existed because they couldn’t see them. So minutes after President Garfield was shot, doctors pressed in around him to stick their fingers and push unsterilized instruments into his wound. They poked and prodded as far as they could in his body, hoping to find the bullet and remove it. They continued to do this for eighty days while President Garfield languished in the hospital. As we today would expect, this regular unsterilized digging worsened the president’s condition. He developed infections and eventually died. I find it fascinating that President Garfield did not succumb to death because of the bullet wound. He died from the infections caused by doctors who kept probing the wound.
Funny—we tend to do this with our own wounds. We replay the bad memories again and again. We talk about them repeatedly to anyone who will listen. We think of ways we can exact revenge. We poke and prod at our gaping wounds. In the process, we become bitter. Hardened. And, often, we withhold our love from those who need it most.
1 Corinthians 13:1–8 KJV 1900
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
When we seek to love God, love ourselves and love others, we can learn to love despite what happened in the past. We can mend brokenness that has plagued our families for generations. In fact, Paul wrote in that we are to have a ministry of reconciliation (see verse 18). If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are called to reconcile.
It is never wrong to love.
It is never out of order to love.
You do not compromise when you love.
You never lower your standards when you love.
ou never lower your standards when you love.
Do you remember when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was? He replied, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” ( NKJV).
What I learned was if you’re going through hell, don’t stop there. Keep going ’til you get to the other side. I have discovered that trouble is one of God’s great servants because it reminds us how much we continually need Him. God is not put off by our struggles. He says, I’ll help you. I really will. When you have gone as far as you can, you have just pulled up into God’s driveway. When you are ready to throw up your hands, throw them up to Him.
Some moments change everything about you and your family for the rest of your life. Whether loss, a betrayal, an addiction, an infidelity—without a doubt, these things affect the dynamics of our relationships. But God creates all things new.
It is time to let Him give you a new beginning. It is time to let God bind up your bruises and heal your wounds. I love these words written by the ancient prophet:
Isaiah 30:26 KJV 1900
Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, And the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, As the light of seven days, In the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, And healeth the stroke of their wound.
If you let God heal your wounded places, your nights will become like days and your days will shine seven times brighter. Think about this for a moment. Do you want to be right or reconciled? Do you want to be hurt or healed? Do you want to keep being the victim or start becoming whole?
If you let God heal your wounded places, your nights will become like days and your days will shine seven times brighter. Think about this for a moment. Do you want to be right or reconciled? Do you want to be hurt or healed? Do you want to keep being the victim or start becoming whole?
The truth is, some things get broken and can never be put back exactly the same. Yet God can make all things new.
If you will be willing to love like you’ve never been hurt, God can heal every broken relationship in your life. talks about the Israelites rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem from dust and burned stones. “Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?”
Do not throw away the stones that have been burned. God can and will use them to rebuild your family.
Philippians 3:13–14 KJV 1900
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
“You don’t just need a good memory. Sometimes you need a good forgetter.” To move forward, you have to let go of the past. You have to release what is behind you and reach for what is before you. If you will reach for a new day, God will begin, little by little, to release you from the past.
The biggest point in that first sermon was this: “You don’t just need a good memory. Sometimes you need a good forgetter.” To move forward, you have to let go of the past. You have to release what is behind you and reach for what is before you. If you will reach for a new day, God will begin, little by little, to release you from the past.
Life is an adventure in forgiveness. It is all about releasing and reaching. Release the past and reach for the future. The only way to do this is to love like you’ve never been hurt. This means loving so intensely that it overrides all your natural instincts for bitterness and revenge.
You will never get ahead trying to get even. When you have been wronged, a poor memory is your best response. A good forgettery is what all of us need.
Have you ever noticed how a jeweler shows his best diamonds? He sets them against a black velvet backdrop. The contrast of the jewels against the dark background accentuates their luster. In the same way, God does His most stunning work where things seem hopeless. Wherever there is pain, suffering and desperation, Jesus is there. There is no better place for the brilliance of Christ to shine.
It has been said that family provides us with life’s greatest joys and at times life’s deepest sorrows. When I think about how hard it is to make the family work, the challenges that come and the complications involved, it is really something else. They can get on our nerves. The people we love most are the ones who potentially, through offenses, can infect us if we do not react right. But I have learned that with challenges comes opportunity. And family also provides the greatest opportunity for us to learn how to love like we’ve never been hurt.
The pain you feel today is the pain you can heal.
As believers, we are called to live differently. We do not love as the world loves, which is conditionally, only when expectations are met or when it feels good. We love God’s way.
There are only two subjects in the Bible that God thinks are important enough to ascribe an entire chapter to: one, faith (see ), and two, love (see ). Evidently, God feels that love and faith are so important they must be foundational truths in our lives.
God knows that love is a powerful weapon. When He looks at our world held captive by the enemy, He knows the way to fight is not with angels, prophetic words or powerful worship. His greatest weapon is love.
Love is kind. Love thinks no evil. Love is permanent. Love endures. Love does not give up. You cannot walk in love until you walk in forgiveness. We may not see eye to eye on everything, but if we focus on the blood and the forgiveness of Jesus Christ, we can have unity! We can love one another as God loves us.
After Jesus rose from the dead, He searched out and found His disciple Simon Peter. Then He asked him a question three times: “Simon, do you love me?” (). In English, we have but one word for love. In the Greek language, however, there are three. Eros means “sexual.” Phileo says, “I’m attracted to you. I feel something for you.” But the highest level of love is agape, which is “divine love.”
When Jesus asked Simon, “Do you agape Me?” He was asking, “Do you have the highest level of love for Me?” Simon answered, “I phileo You” (“I feel something for You”). In other words, he was not on the same level of love as what Jesus was asking for.
I believe God is calling us to a new level of love. Love is the answer to the broken home. Love is the answer to the addict. Love is the answer to fractured relationships. Love is the answer to being offended. Love is the answer to heartbreak. Love is a weapon that can shatter division and rebuild what has been broken.
I wonder what would happen if we decided that, with God’s help and in His strength, we are going to love like we’ve never been hurt. Instead of withholding affection, staying bitter or seeking revenge, we love. And, once we have decided to do it, how?
Through some key choices that will help us get there:
Choose love over hurt.
Choose to love others—always.
Choose to press forward.
Choose to heal your wounds.
Choose to keep driving.
The ones whom you love the most can hurt you the most. Love them anyway.
Love does not demand its own way. It never loses faith. It is always hopeful. It endures through every circumstance. It is never wrong to love. It is never out of order to love. You do not compromise your faith when you love. This is what it means to love like you’ve never been hurt.
Love people who have messed up.
Stop keeping score and start losing count.
We need to live life full throttle. Live joyfully, live passionately, love completely. Love completely now, because you’re not promised another day.
Be kind—when you feel like it and when you don’t.
Allow the Holy Spirit to guard your unguarded moments, and learn to be a peacemaker.
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