Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt [Part 1]
Are you ready for some good news?
You can love like you’ve never been hurt.
Today’s Text: “And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 45:7–8, ESV)
Joseph’s love for his brothers was breathtaking because they had hurt him so deeply. It’s impossible to love deeply and sincerely while nurturing bitter roots. So, Joseph loved like he’d never been hurt.
How was it possible?
Joseph loved in the manner that he had been loved.
Until mid-twentieth century, prevailing wisdom encouraged parents not to overly coddle their infants lest the children become ‘spoiled.’ But, in the 1950’s, psychologist Harry Harlow rattled such silly ideologies with his famous, controversial experiments with Rhesus monkeys. In the classic study, Harlow showed that, given a choice, baby monkeys preferred a pretend, cloth mother that provided nothing but ‘her’ soft feel to a stark, wire surrogate mom that provided milk but no ‘contact comfort’.
Both the ‘wire mom’ babies and the ‘cloth mom’ babies ate and gained weight, but the ‘wire mom’ babies had trouble digesting the milk and were prone to diarrhea. When a baby monkey was separated from its ‘cloth mother’ for three days, the infant Rhesus wasn’t ‘toughened up’ by its adventure in independence, but, instead, became scared, insecure and clingy upon its return to ‘mom.’
Though some of his practices were criticized, Harlow’s work was widely accepted as conclusive evidence that abundant parental affection was not likely to ‘spoil’ the child but to strengthen the child. The more parental contact, the more healthy the child. Interestingly, Harlow wasn’t just criticized for the methods of his studies, but was criticized for what he called them. He called them “studies in the nature of love.” It is not the withholding, but the assurance of love, that causes us to flourish. It is the experience of being loved that builds the inward security that allows us to risk loving others.
Joseph could love like he’d never been hurt because he was grounded in his earthly father’s love and his Heavenly Father’s love. Love, all love, comes from God. If you want to love others more, do everything you can to let God’s love fill you more. He loves you as if you had never hurt Him. That’s how you can love others too. And that’s the Gospel!
For more information please visit SharingtheLight.org.