Have you ever felt a pushback from those to whom you expressed your love? Maybe you experienced negativity or downright resentment in response to your kindness towards them. The closer you try to get, the less receptive they become. In the process, you may wonder what you have done wrong to deserve such maltreatment. In some cases, there was no indication such behavior would transpire in the beginning stages of the relationship. What gives? Unless you actually did something to deserve hostility, don’t take it personally. You are not the problem! You’re up against something powerful that destroys relationships before they can grow to any depth -even if the individual wants the relationship. They can’t help but self-sabotage when things “start getting good.”
Jesus said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). If you don’t love yourself in the way God loves you, you will have a very difficult time loving anyone else. You can’t give what you don’t have. For some, this is obvious: people push back love simply because they don’t love themselves, and see no reason anyone else could love them either. They carry a hypothesis that states, “I don’t’ deserve love, so no one could possibly love me.” They work hard at proving their hypothesis, which is where self-sabotage comes to play. By and large, they’re oblivious to their mental and emotional state. One might say, “Yea, but I constantly tell them, ‘I love you.’ I’m always trying to encourage them. Surely they can get it!” Here’s a simple truth: they don’t trust you -they never did! But that’s not your fault. Where did this mistrust come from?
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy . . . The enemy seeks to destroy people at the earliest stages of life possible. The earlier he can get to them, the easier it is to keep them from connecting to the love of God our Father, or anyone else’s for that matter. He has ravaged many families. Most of us by now are painfully aware of dysfunctional families all over the globe. Before going further, do remember the devil has been disempowered by the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. And that means he cannot stop anyone from having a breakthrough when God is involved! God loves redemption and reconciliation. That same Cross and Resurrection proves it.
The reason for the mistrust is the very ones whom they were supposed to be able to trust, broke their trust in a very severe way and/or numerous times. Usually it’s one or both parents, or perhaps, a grandparent, sibling and so on. Any form of affection he or she exhibited required some sort of performance from the child -he or she had to earn love. Unfortunately, many of them could never be or do good enough -they learned they will never be worthy.
Keep in mind when someone experiences something very traumatic, emotional growth often stops at that point. What you may be dealing with is an adult with the emotional makeup of a child. For example, if someone was traumatized at the age of 12, emotionally, he or she is still 12 -even at the age of 20, 30 or older. In front of you is someone who had his or her trust annihilated by someone who was supposed to be trustworthy. The same one who should have protected him or her, may even be the one who inflicted the damage. The fear of losing love, or experiencing the same kind of “love” growing up, is so intense that it won’t allow them to drop their guard. As previously stated, such people never feel worthy of love, so they don’t receive it. In their mind, they’re “damaged goods.”
To make matters worse, a number of them were outright told they were worthless by the ones who were supposed to encourage them. Not only do they reject your love, they reject God’s as well. Their experience with their earthly parent(s) skewed their perception of God our Father’s love.
Patience and longsuffering are required if you’re going to help someone connect with His love and yours. Unconditional love is paramount. Do NOT expect a return on investment (ROI). This requires pure AGAPE (God’s type of love), which takes joy in the recipient for the sake of the recipient alone. Don’t get upset if he or she doesn’t reciprocate your acts of love. You are not looking for affirmation. If you are doing something to gain his or her affection, then your motive isn’t AGAPE-based. It’s definitely okay if they express appreciation and reciprocate, but it cannot be your reason. If it is your motive, you have some issues to contend with. Moreover, you would be reinforcing the concept of performance-based love, and that is no love at all! As it stands, they reject your love because they don’t feel they deserve it.
Until they understand why they feel the way they do, it may be difficult for them to move forward. On the other hand, all things are possible with God. One true-blue encounter with Him, changes everything. When they experience His unconditional love, breakthrough will happen. Be uplifted, Jesus gave you His love (see John 17:26), which means they experience it through you. Ask for wisdom and allow Holy Spirit to lead you in the way you interact with them. The need for patience and longsuffering doesn’t mean it has to take years and years for them to breakthrough. Healing can come quickly. On a side note, emotional healing does not require endless counseling sessions. Why do you suppose there are gifts of healing (see 1 Corinthians 12:9)?