There’s this young lady, 20 maybe 22, who has been in a relationship with a man she thinks is her world and who could never do any wrong. They’ve been together for 5 years and even have a daughter together. In front of family, friends and in pictures she displays a smile so big that no one can see the pain underneath it. She tells her family this is the man for her and he provides for her and the baby better than she could ever expect. But what she forgot to mention was the cost she was paying for the providing he provided. Behind closed doors, this provider was a monster. He would come home after a long day and unwind by knocking her around. He was careful to not leave bruises and scars that were noticeable to folk so he hit her in places she could hide it. She was so scared to leave because he always threatens to find her. Now, she was raised in a Christian household with a father that would never lay a hand on his wife or any woman for that matter and she was taught that God loved her and he would take care of her if she let him in. But she thought this was the way love was supposed to be because she didn’t read the bible for herself that states “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:7-8). But somewhere in the midst of this relationship she lost her focus on God and her life was spiraling out of control. One night, while her man was out with friends, she settled in for a quiet evening with her daughter. She fixed her bottle and had put her down to sleep and afterwards she sat her desk writing a letter. After she finished, she ran a bath to clear her head. She put on her nightgown and went to bed. When her man came home, he found her unresponsive in the bed with an empty bottle of sleeping pills. He raced to the baby’s room to find her, too, unresponsive (from the medicine that had been placed in her bottle) and he dialed 911. After realizing the 2 women in his life would be there no more, he found the letter on the desk that simply read, LOVE SHOULDN’T HURT THIS MUCH!
Maybe you’re not facing a situation like this and maybe you’ve never felt pain like she felt but are you dealing with hurtful love? You’re a 19-year-old young man who has dated the same girl since 9th grade year. You all made plans for college, for her business and you, football and a life together always. But then an injury happens and you are no longer the shining star she once held so high and college didn’t work for her because she wouldn’t go to class. Now you are living together in a 1 bedroom apartment with your 2 month old son and you’ve been working your butt off to pay the bills while she stays home. You pick up all the extra hours that you can just to make ends meet but every day you come in, she is nagging. (You know the word others use but since this is a devotional, I’ll keep it PG). Every day she reminds you of your faults instead of your good deeds, she complains about the time you’re gone instead of thanking you for being a provider or she says she should have left you a long time ago because you’ll never amount to nothing. When you mention going back to school, she laughs because her momma told her that you won’t be nothing either. Each time you want to hang out with friends you have to tell her you’re every move because she says I love you but I don’t trust you. Now, you were also raised on God’s word and you know the man should be the head of the house but you are doing all you can. You read God’s word that says “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them (Ephesians 4:29),” but you keep accepting the hatred coming from the mouth of the person who claims to love you? You begin to pray and God shows you that love is building up, not tearing down and love is kind, not mean so you leave. After you’ve packed your bags and moved back home, you send her a text that simply reads, LOVE SHOULDN’T HURT THIS MUCH!
Love shouldn’t hurt as much as it does. Love is not cuts, scars and bruises because love does not have hands. But so many of the young ladies and young men, of this day and time, are dealing with grown folk issues before they are even grown and are not being taught the real meaning of the 4 letter word. We don’t teach them that John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” We don’t instill in them that Romans 5:8 say “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We don’t tell them that 1 John 4:9-11 say “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another “or John 13:34 that say “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
We are so busy being focused on our own lives that we as women are not teaching the girls and men aren’t taking the time to teach the boys how to respect themselves. Instead of telling our children that no one should put their hands on them in a relationship, we wait until it’s too late. Instead of telling our daughters that love shouldn’t leave scars, we buy Neosporin to cover them up. Instead of getting them out of a violent situation we wait until there is a detective standing at your door saying your daughter/son was killed by the hands of the person they said they loved. Yea, you saw signs but you didn’t want to get involved because when you did they went running back. But it was at that point, you should have been running to God for Psalm 11:5 say “The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates.”
Instead, you walk around your own house on egg shells because you don’t want to upset the kids. You pay a cellphone bill but can’t go through the phone. You pay the internet bill but can’t use their computer, you pay the mortgage or rent but you’re not allowed in their room. Chile, please stop it! Grow up and parent! Who cares if they get mad, what can they do? You should be in your child’s business then maybe you’ll see the text that she gets calling her every name but her own or the Facebook statuses she puts arguing with other girls over a boy. If you get more involved now, you may be able to stop the abuse before it starts. Yes, emotional abuse is still abuse. You allow your daughter to wear skirts so short you can see her butt when she bends over and then have the nerve to wonder why her name is floating around school like a bird in search of food. You allow your son to wear sagging pants (because you bought those 2 sizes too big) so that he thinks he is “hard,” and then have the gall to say I don’t know why he is acting like that. You allow your son to talk to you any kind of way and then wonder why he treats a girl so bad. You allow your daughter to see you being belittled and torn down by words from a man and then she grows up to accept the same treatment.
Love should be required in any relationship but in order to get it you have to love yourself first. Just because no one says you’re pretty doesn’t mean you’re not. Just because no one says you look nice it doesn’t mean you don’t. Just because no one says you’re talented doesn’t mean you’re not. Stop waiting on FOLK to assess your value and STOP allowing folk to devalue you. Don’t you look in the mirror for yourself? Don’t you trust in the gifts God has given? If no one ever says or shows they love you, God does! Isn’t that enough? Value yourself and then others will value you. Love shouldn’t hurt as much as it does, so stop allowing it too.