We need to receive love from before birth. To receive love is very important to our emotional and psychological well-being. Research shows that the strong, caring attachments to our caregivers from an early age assists us in developing a sense of confidence and trust towards others.
As adults we need the supportive, understanding relationship connections to other people for our mental health. This reduces our psychological isolation and consequently gives us belonging and helps form our identity. No man is an island remember. Relationships offer so much in the form of emotional support, encouragement and valuable inputs.
Among others, people help to ground us in reality by offering a wider perspective on a situation than what we might currently hold. People can give valuable feedback on how we treat others and approach our lives. As Christians we can also, through the Holy Spirit, remind each other of the Truth as manifested in the life giving gospel of Jesus Christ. We can encourage, challenge and walk alongside each other as we run this race of faith together.
Unfortunately people can also let us down. They are just not able to provide the unfailing, strong, consistent love and support that we actually need. This is because people mostly tend to love conditionally. We find it hard to always love those that hurt us and especially those bullies that act as our enemies. Even the best of people can break promises and do not always remain faithful.
What we need is a love that sticks with us even if we fail. A love that remains faithful through thick and thin, that is stronger than our problems and greatest challenges. The only love that truly meets these requirements is that of God Himself. Faithfulness and love is an intrinsic part of who He is.
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful [true to His word and His righteous character], for He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Tim 2:13 Amp
If we could experience a love that is so strong, enduring and never failing then it would lead to an immense sense of psychological and spiritual security.
That is what God offers to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. He proved His love to us by paying the tremendous price of death to save His enemies, me and you. And now He offers a strong bond, an attachment like no other.
In this relationship we are so secure because the other party is perfect! He does not act selfishly, forget His promises or drop us half way. His wisdom and strength surpasses anyone’s. His tender loving care is so great and is based on who He is and what He did for us at the cross, not on how good one is.
“But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Rom 5:8 Amp
My own experience of God’s love for me has changed my life. I was once a broken and hurt young man, but was found and cradled by God’s intense care for me. Although I did not always feel it, I came to realize through a process with multiple experiences that He never leaves, abandons or rejects me. However, the pressures of life and my own failures sometimes distract me. Therefore I need to be reminded of this truth regularly.
As my limited understanding of His great mercy and grace for me in Christ expands, I come to feel loved even more. This spurs me on to love God with all my being.
If you received Jesus Christ, then you are filled with the love of God through the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5) . This enables you to love other people, especially believers. Then you are able to fulfill the Lord’s command to love fellow believers as He loved us (Joh 13:34).
So, in closing, you need the love of God and your fellow believers. May you experience His love as you journey with Him.
Erich Schoeman (MSc. Clin Psych)
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