In 1984 Tina Turner recorded the song, “What’s Love Got to Do With It”, and it soon reached the top of the music charts in the U.S. The lyrics of the pop hit linked the word ‘love’ as being only a “physical, second hand emotion” and added “who needs a heart when a heart can be broken”.
Somehow it seems for too many of us, we made the decision the lyrics were right and it was better to close off our hearts to prevent them from being broken or broken again. Long before a first opposite sex relationship, many of us had already experienced our hearts being broken when the love we hoped for never happened or was shattered by neglect or abuse. As life went along, more experiences happened that convinced some of us to build the walls around our hearts even higher.
But there was a problem.
We were designed and created by a loving God who placed within us a capacity for and a desire for love that is as essential to us as breathing.
The design was first for our relationship with Him since we were created in His likeness. It was also designed to share and experience with others. The absence of it and the accompanying emptiness was a pain we did not tolerate well, so we looked for other things to fill it or blunt the pain. Those choices ultimately led us in paths that took us into greater difficulty.
I love the words J. Kevin Butcher used to describe that in Choose and Choose Again:
“In days gone by, industrial site cleanup experts tried to deal with toxic water waste by putting dangerous chemicals and materials in steel drums and burying them deep beneath the surface of the ground. That was fine until twenty or thirty years down the road when the drums began to leak and spilled the deadly waste into the ground water, poisoning everyone and everything within its reach. The same is true for our pain. We might be able to store it away or hide it in a secret place in our hearts for a while. But eventually our hearts begin to leak, and our un-grieved pain and loss spills out into our lives and relationships, poisoning everyone and everything that matters to us. And that pain continues to poison us—and the shaming voices attached to the pain continue to shout—until the wound is grieved, lamented, and released into the hands of a caring, healing God.”
Too often we have believed the lie that God could not possibly love us when we have messed up yet again and we move away from Him rather than toward Him because we fear He may reject us. Sometimes that happens even though we know in our heads what the Word says about His love for us. Our hearts have sometimes been so closed off for so long we don’t even recognize it as the central issue.
I love what John Eldredge writes about that in Waking the Dead:
“Without your heart you cannot hope to find God, for the heart is his dwelling place. If you ignore your heart, it’s like looking for him everywhere but home.”
Because He is love and He resides in our hearts, love has everything to do with it!!! It is that very love we have turned aside from or never risked pursuing that is there to walk with us into the shattered places of our lives and heart to bring the healing we need. It is only when we risk doing that and turn toward Him and choose Him or choose Him again that we can begin to experience His love. And that is what equips us to be able to love others.
We need to confront the fear of God’s rejection of us when we turn toward Him. Unless we do, it will push us farther and farther away from Him.
J. Kevin Butcher describes what we need to understand about turning toward Him:
“We run toward the kind of love that always comes for us because we know that kind of love is to at long last be secure enough to begin the healing process…”
Jesus would have us set aside the superficial and too often fake love of the songs that we hear on our devices that can never satisfy us or fill our hearts to overflowing no matter how perfect they sound. His love is so much beyond our imaginations to even fathom, but He wants us to “taste and see that the Lord is good” as the psalmist writes.
When we experience His love beyond believing it, everything changes.
“If we fall in love with Jesus, not only will nothing on this earth attract us, nothing on this earth will intimidate us.” (Ken Gire)
What’s love got to do with it?