Does Love Have to be Earned?

June 10th, 2008

Reading Level: Impassioned

In continuation of our series, this is another reader provided question. I wasn’t sure if the person was asking about God’s love or human love, so I thought we’d cover both aspects.

First, let’s focus on a general principle of love. Love, whether given freely or earned, can be damaged or destroyed depending on our responses to it.

Someone can choose to love you completely unearned or unmerited, such as with new emotional love, which is based on the person they hope you to be, since they haven’t been acquainted with you long enough to actually know what you are like so as to commit to the relationship rationally. If your actions are unloving, selfish, and/or inconsiderate, obviously that will damage that relationship and eventually destroy the unmerited love as you demonstrate more and more that you are unworthy of it. Emotionally or physically harmful behavior will destroy it even more quickly.

Love that is earned in human relationship is actually, per say, more stable.

It may begin as emotional love or acquaintance or friendship and develop into a stable, lasting love as your attitudes and behavior show over time that you can be trusted to be a loving person through the variety of life’s circumstances. This is what I term rational love, a love in which the person has a sound basis of long-term experience with you which has developed a high level of trust. This trust based on experience then provides Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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Healing Through Overcoming Family Past

February 19th, 2008

Reading Level: Impassioned

In my life experience of working with people who are seeking after God, there has been a noticeable characteristic of people’s responses to God being affected by past parental relationships.

I have seen children from abusive family situations that felt great apprehension at the thought of even talking to God, fearful of His rejection or of some sort of mistreatment by Him. I have known women who were making an effort to seek after God, but because of past abusive relationships with fathers and ex-husbands, could not emotionally handle the intended positive analogy in Scripture of paternal characteristics in God. Though Scripture makes clear that spiritual beings are neither male or female, since God often uses the analogy of a Father to illustrate to us certain positive characteristics that can be seen in earthly fathers, people can, without being aware of it, project bad attributes particularly from fathers (but also mothers and any other person seen as an authority figure) onto God. Throughout my career, I have made it a point to remind people that God’s fatherly characteristics are those of, not just a good father but, a perfect one, since God is perfect and that concept has been helpful to them.

There is a term in psychology when dealing with boundary violations that is called a withdrawal of love. An example of this emotional violation is when a parent who is displeased with the child, whether for poor behavior or even just behavior against the parent’s personal preferences, responds with anger.

Even if the child’s behavior was ethically unacceptable and needed some form of discipline, the discipline included more than just corrective action; it was carried out with types angry behaviors which portrayed that the parent no longer loved the child due to his behavior. Parents like this, often unintentionally, also display behavior that conveys to the child that his actions were a personal insult to the parent. This results in a performance-based relationship. “If you do what I like, I’ll love you. Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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