Disclaimer: I am not and I don’t support abuse in any form. Some of this might be hard to chew, it is for me and I’m trying to get a grasp, so it’s okay if you are too. I only ask that you carefully consider, be open-minded and deeply ponder as that’s what I’m also trying to do. I’m not trying to give you an answer or a formula or a rulebook.
I’ve been thinking about a sentence I read a couple of days ago. Don’t remember where exactly now but the statement read “love if it’s one-sided becomes self-hate”. I agree with the sentiments to an extent. In the sense that when you are giving and not getting, soon enough, you start questioning, feeling empty and then you blame yourself or worse begin to feel hate. It can be a crazy circle.
While I do get this, I tried to see this and weigh it through God’s way of loving. The love of God is such that is kind of one-sided. It starts off that way at least and then eventually gravitates towards shared, mutual love. But the love is more on His part than ours. God loved us even when we didn’t recognise or acknowledge Him. It was one-sided but He didn’t turn away.
Another example is Hosea whom God used his love life to give a clear picture of His own relationship with the Israelites. In our time, I think we will probably term what Hosea went through as emotional abuse. Constantly being put down, ill-treated by the woman he loved. The love was mostly one-sided but it didn’t turn to self-hate. Not for Hosea, not for God.
I believe God won’t cause us emotional pain. He is not out to hurt us. But if we are to truly understand and demonstrate the love of God, we will need to not measure with our worldly sense. We need to see and be like Christ. It’s a lot of death to the flesh. And this can oftentimes mean that love will be one-sided for us, that is, we will be giving it and may not be getting it back from who we give it to. As we become more and more like God, we love people not because we are loved by them but because love is our DNA, love is who we are.
God is not after satisfying us sensually. It’s not just about that. It’s loving as Hosea did the wayward one who keeps running back and doing all the wrong things. Of course, I think there are those circumstances that we need to handle much carefully based on instructions and leading from the Lord and sometimes with professional help. My point though is that we seek to remain our loving selves just as God is irrespective of what the other person does or is doing.
Jesus challenged the status quo. He was not about the generally accepted norms, beliefs and practices. He was always about the better way, about God’s way. And loving God’s way is loving because it’s who we are in spite of how we might be or are being treated by others. So yeah, love, when it’s one-sided, has the possibility to become self-hate but I daresay we have a choice as to whether that actually is the case for us or not.