rebelling against low expectations

Love Hurts (And 4 Other Life Lessons About Love)


“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” — John 15:9-13

Have you ever fallen in love with someone only to realize they don’t love you back in that way?

It’s happened to me more than once, and it hurts. If you’ve experienced this yourself than you probably know the pain I’m talking about. The last time this happened to me was one of the hardest and most painful experiences yet.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy that pain. I hate it and will do what I can to avoid it or make it better.

I have a couple different ways of escaping this pain. One way is to ignore this particular person so that I don’t have to feel the pain every time we cross paths. Another method is to be mean to that person, so that maybe I can convince myself I don’t really like him — or so that he will be mean back to me and I will stop liking him after that.

Essentially what I am doing in either case is building a hard, impenetrable wall around my heart so that nothing can hurt or destroy it.

I am tired of being hurt and broken, so instead I will just stop loving. That is what I do.

I stop loving because love hurts.

But in the midst of all this pain and hurt, God used my brother to point me to the above passage along with other passages that convicted me of my lack of love.

Here are five things that I learned from these verses that I want to share with you.

1. Jesus loves me.

That Jesus loves me is no small matter. I – even when a rebel towards Christ, hating and despising him, rejecting him – am loved by Christ Jesus. The greatest love is shown in laying down his life for a friend and this act is the greatest love because that is what Christ did for us.

He laid down his life for me even when I was hating and despising him. Furthermore, his love for me is as great as his Father’s love for himself and that love is a love beyond what anyone can imagine.

If Christ loves me this much, should I not be willing to love others with a Christ like love no matter how much it hurts?

2. I am commanded to love.

I am commanded to love like Christ. It’s as simple as that. I do not have options. I cannot pick and choose who I love. I am not told to love only when it’s easy or when the person is lovable.

I am commanded to love others like Christ, and that means all people at all times.

3. I cannot be abiding in God if I have not love.

To have no love is to separate myself from Christ’s love, and that is the worst place to be. To be separated from Christ’s love is to be damned. I cannot be abiding in God’s love if I am not keeping his commandment to love others.

4. My joy can only be full when I abide in God’s love.

There is joy that comes in abiding in Christ and keeping his commands. God delights in giving his children joy, but that joy is only found in abiding in him. Yet I cannot have this joy if I am not loving like Christ loves.

Joy is found in abiding in Christ’s love and loving others with that love that he fills us with.

5. Love hurts, but is worth the pain.

God never promised that love would be pain free. In fact, true love is full of pain.

Jesus went through more pain than we can imagine to ransom his children who were living in rebellion towards him. Christ demonstrates what love looks like in his act of love toward us. I too, must experience pain if I am to truly love others. Love hurts, but love is worth the cost.

Love is a Learning Process

I still stumble and struggle over loving others well. I still hate the pain. But I am learning. Learning to love and allow myself to be hurt in the process.

Because Jesus loves me and he has shown me how to love others. And because there is no greater joy than to abide in his love for me.

When I am tempted to throw up that wall of protection around my heart, I want to remember what Christ has done for me and allow his love to fill me and give me strength to love others with a soft and tender heart, no matter the pain it entails, even though it may mean rejection time and time (and time) again.

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Photo courtesy of Cristian and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Hannah Foster

Hannah Foster is a graduate of Bethlehem College and Seminary with a bachelor’s degree in History of Ideas. She loves a well written book, two favorite authors being Jane Austin and L. M. Montgomery. She also enjoys writing, desiring that her words bring comfort and hope to those who have experienced deep suffering through the loss of a loved one. You can also find her crocheting, creating art, and watching western shows while spending time with her husband.


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  • I really like how you wrote this. I have many struggles in this area as well, and I’m wondering if I could ask a question. Maybe I accidentally skipped over it, but how do you overcome that barrier of untrust after you get deeply hurt?

    • Forgiveness is a good place to start. Remember that just because you have forgiven someone doesn’t mean that you have to trust them again immediately though. Sometimes this just isn’t wise. Trust often needs to be earned back and that can begin when the person shows repentance but sometimes there are painful situations where the hurt is forgiven and the love for the person remains but there is no repentance or remorse on their part and so there can be no trust and that simply won’t change. Those cases are the most painful in my experience but all you can do there is guard against bitterness and continue to commit them to God in prayer.

      • Thank you!! I’ve struggled with this issue SO much. I’ve been hurt so many times that I began to put up “walls” and wouldn’t let anyone get close, nor would I allow myself to become to attached to anyone.

    • Hi Melissa! Thank you for reading and commenting.
      Good question! I think Just Cara gave a pretty good answer and I don’t really have much more to add to what she said. Honestly, in the scenario that I was thinking of when I wrote this, it wasn’t a matter of not trusting the person any more because I am actually still very good friends with the person and don’t find any reason to not trust him. So I hadn’t really thought on that question very much. But I think what Just Cara said about needing to forgive the person is a good place to start. And loving the person I don’t think means you have to whole-heartedly trust them if they have hurt you in such a way that has caused a distrust, such as the person being dishonest and not fully repenting of it
      I hope that helps some. I am sorry I can’t give a very thought out response.

  • Thanks Hannah for that. I certainly am needing this right now.
    I’m realizing more and more just how much emotional hurt is also emotional healing, that as we lean on God to allow the tears to flow, He leads us to growth and acceptance. I didn’t see that as a whole until reading this though, so thank you for that.
    Love is hard, but it teaches lessons so well….

  • Hannah, I really needed this right now. I’ve been struggling to love a certain someone in my family and this could not have come at a better time. Thank you so much <3

  • Hannah, I actually studied that passage this summer! This was really well written. Loving others can be so hard sometimes, but it’s God who gives us the grace to do it.

    • Katherine, that is so cool! It is such a good passage and really the whole chapter is awesome and there is so much richness and truth in it. I am so thankful for God’s grace pouring his love into us, so we can pour it out onto others.

  • This was beautiful and so accurate! While we don’t need to let anything rule in our hearts above Jesus, we also don’t need to avoid loving others in a God-honoring way.
    THANK YOU for this!!!

  • Wow, that was really nice!!! It hasn’t happened to me yet, but when it does and love is hurting, this will be a great helpful thing for me!

  • Thank you so much for this article. This is something I’ve struggled with over the years … I didn’t want to love anyone or let anyone close because I’d been hurt so many times. I put up “walls” in my heart …

    –Hayley J

By Hannah Foster
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →