Love in Disguise

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I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.-Hosea 14:4 (NIV)

“You don’t love me!”

Oh man, I have heard that a few times spewed from my kids’ mouth. I can’t quite remember the first time they correlated unfair actions with whether I loved them or not, but I do remember saying the same thing to my mom…let’s just say reaping what you sow is a double-edged sword.

I will never forget my first memory of saying that to my mom. I was young (4ish) and I was mad at her for telling me to do something. I stormed back to what was a catch-all room and yelled, “You don’t love me!” I promptly sat on the ground next to this old vacuum and fumed about the abuse I was enduring. It was so unfair! I was so hurt by the whole situation that I didn’t even notice that my mom had left. She was so hurt (and angry, I’m sure) that she went outside to cool off. By the time I realized it, I thought she had run away. I remember thinking she had ditched us and disappeared because I accused her of not loving me. This is when the reality of her love hit me at a deeper level then ever before. I broke down bawling because I realized that my words had hurt her deeply. I also understood a little more about love that day.

Love is not getting our way.

Love is not catering to a person’s every whim.

But how many times do we accuse God of not loving us because something didn’t go our way? We think he was unfair to us, or that he ignored a request that we were sure would have solved our problems.

But love is patient, kind, and long-suffering–not indulgent, impulsive and self-serving.

Children are born with selfish instincts and relate love to selfish means. They have to learn what love really is and some still struggle with this well into adulthood.

I challenge you today to journal what love means to you. Is it a feeling? Is it a choice? When is love hard?

To find examples of perfect love, turn to the Word. The book of Hosea is a great story of love displayed. Love pursues even when it is wounded. Love doesn’t lord your mistakes over you. Love forgives first and repairs second.

Now back to my kids spewing those hurtful words. Honestly, I don’t take it personally. I get heat-of-the-moment phrases that you really don’t mean. I try not to knee-jerk react, but instead use that phrase as a flag that things have gotten out of hand. I try hard to take a breath and a step back. When the situation has been downgraded, I calmly explain to them that loving them does not mean giving them their way. It is using my wisdom that I have received through life experience to give them what is best. I love God and I am trying my best to parent them. I love them and want them to learn to be kind, loving people who have a relationship with Jesus. I also explain that saying things like that hurts Mommy’s heart. The conversation usually ends in an apology and (hopefully) a better understanding of true love.

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