Love is the highest value of the kingdom (I Corinthians 13:13). It is the central motivation of all the commandments (Mark 12:30-31). It is the character of God Himself (I John 4:8). It is the motivation behind the life mission of Yeshua (John 3:16). And it involves pain.
Love involves a relationship, which in turn involves another human being. All of us human beings cause trouble. We sin. Sin hurts other people. If we love people, we have to deal with the pain that sin causes.
I have wonderful, loving, faithful relationships with people in all spheres of my life – marriage, family, work, congregation, partners and friends. Yet they all involve pain. Faithfulness and patience means bearing the pain of relationships over a long period of time. The beauty of love is well worth the pain involved, but there is a price to pay. Pain is the price of love.
Romans 15:1 –
We who are strong should bear the weakness of the weak.
1 Corinthians 12:26 –
If one member is hurting, then all the members suffer.
1 Corinthians 13:7 –
Love covers all things … suffers all things.
Galatians 6:2 –
Bear one another’s burdens.
Ephesians 4:2 –
Suffer one another in love.
The pain of loving relationships comes in several dimensions. First we who are strong bear the weight in our relationships with those who are weak. They cannot do all they should, so we need to “make up the difference.” In this sort of relationship no harm is intended. It is more of a weight than a pain.
The second dimension is that we vicariously feel the pains of others. Yeshua would weep in His daily prayer times as He felt the suffering of others (Hebrews 5:7). Paul (Saul) said that he felt the suffering of those in the congregations under his authority. This pain is a spiritual pain; not one s own pain. It is the loving identification of compassion and intercession.
The third dimension of pain is when someone you love hurts you. Here the pain is more direct. The depth of love is intimacy. Intimacy demands openness. Openness creates vulnerability. Vulnerability means you can be hurt or wounded. When we are hurt, we have the grace of Yeshua to help us forgive, overlook, communicate and receive healing. The process still hurts.
Yeshua suffered the pain of the crucifixion in order to maintain a relationship with us. Our sin and His loving response caused the pain. Unfortunately, we are still causing Him pain. He forgave us on the cross. He continues to forgive us today.
Colossians 3:13-14 – Bearing with one another and forgiving one another. If anyone has a complaint against one another, even as Messiah forgave you, so you also must do. But above all things, put on love.
We are called to follow in Yeshua’s footsteps. We act as He did on the cross. As He forgave us, we forgive others. He paid the price to continue in relationship with us. He suffered pain in order to love us. We suffer pain in order to love others. We walk by faith in the kind of sacrificial love that Yeshua had for us.