Love Hurts

Written by Anthony Douglas on 27 October 2018.

Broken HeartYou’ve heard the saying. And probably a few different songs as well. It’s an established part of human experience, that while love is sweet, there are times when it brings us pain. We love because it’s worth it, but it can hurt us too.

So yes, love hurts. Interesting, though, that simple sentence. It leaves something unsaid - who or what does love hurt? And of course we know that to be a trivially simple answer; it’s us that love hurts. Or as I’m more concerned about, love hurts me. You might be hurt as well, but that’s your problem.

Except...the Bible says something different. Proverbs 27:5-6 tells us ‘Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.’ The last phrase matches with our usual expectation that love can hurt us. But what comes before is worth hearing.

If we genuinely love someone, then there may be times when we hurt them, for their good. Every parent knows this; children benefit from appropriate discipline. But even in non-hierarchical relationships, love will hurt from time to time.
It’s not easy, rebuking a friend. Keeping quiet is so much simpler. The wisdom that Proverbs offers is logical though, for who better to trust to administer what’s needed than someone who cares for you and wants to build you up, rather than an enemy who hopes to bring you down?

We know it’s true from Proverbs, and we know it’s true because it’s what Jesus did. He taught us about our sin, and our need for a saviour. And when Judas kissed him, he went to take our wounds, showing his love for the world to the world.

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