Real Love

Nov 2, 2017 by

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It was one of those conversations that woke me up. After trying to figure out what went wrong during a frustrating exchange, I added, “She signed off with Love you as usual, which was kind of confusing because we hadn’t resolved what happened. But I just need to give her the benefit of the doubt, believe her, and move on.”

The woman I was talking to gently stopped me and recapped what I’d just shared with her—that this person had actually been rather unkind before signing off with Love you. She hadn’t taken responsibility for her behavior even when I admitted being hurt. In fact, she’d justified it and left me feeling like it would probably be a while before I risked being that honest with her again.    

“Jeanette, it was confusing because that’s not love.”

It isn’t?

“When we love someone, we consider their feelings. If they say, ‘What you said hurt me,’ we apologize. In a loving relationship, we might occasionally feel uncomfortable, but not fearful of what will happen if we risk being honest.”

 

How often had I allowed “But you know I love you” to silence me into accepting unloving behavior?

Even abusive behavior?

More often than I wanted to think about.

That was the day I started re-evaluating Love you. If someone loved me, then I should feel safe being honest even in the discomfort of saying something hard, even if it was over something as simple as what sounded good for lunch. I didn’t expect to always get my way or completely avoid conflict, but I also shouldn’t expect to feel like I’d just been attacked by the family Rottweiler after being told, “She’s the sweetest dog.” (No offense to Rottweiler owners.)

At the same time, I wanted to be the kind of friend that others felt safe with. If I was going to throw around “Love you,” my actions and reactions better match.

In other words, I don’t want to be the sweet family attack dog either.

I’m sure I’ve been guilty.

I know I’ve been guilty.

If I was going to throw around “Love you,” my actions and reactions better match. Click To Tweet

I rediscovered this quote yesterday. I know Ann Voscamp wasn’t talking about friendships when she wrote this, she had Jesus’s safe love in mind. But I still think it applies.

Because isn’t reflecting His love the goal?

If “There is no fear in love” (1 John 4:18) then “Love you” should come with a sense of safety, right.

What do you think?

When has someone’s love made you safe?

 

 

 

Love you” should come with a sense of safety, right. Click To Tweet
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6 Comments

  1. You are a woman of wisdom.

  2. Cheryl V Thompson

    I just spent some time with some friends and we discovered that we have all been let down, or have let someone else down at some time or other. it hurts! Your blog reminds me that while people fail, love still lives in this world and especially in the Author of love, and we can find it again. It’s so hard to wean myself away from my tendency to look for love in the wrong places. Thank you for your courage in reminding us that not everything that pretends to be love is really love.

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      It has taken me a long time to wean myself off the wrong sources of love too! But as you said, love still lives regardless of what hurtful experiences have taught us.

      I appreciate you sharing, “we have all been let down, or have let someone else down…” For so long I bought into the misconception that by remembering what it felt like to be wounded I would NEVER do the same thing to another person. Sadly, that has not been the case. I guess all we can do is learn from each experience and continually ask God to help us reflect His love better next time.

  3. This is SO good! And YOU. You have made me feel safe. I needn’t be on guard with you. 💕

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