Love: the most fearsome power in the entire world, the healer of all wounds.
Loving makes us human. And though we shy away from love, we simultaneously race after it, heartsick. All our hearts are broken by love, and yet somehow love is the cure.
Love is the poison and the antidote. The reason why we weep, and the reason why we sing with joy. Love is our constant reminder that we have a heart of flesh, and not of stone (Ezekiel 36:26). And though we may try to tear our own hearts out to escape the gut-wrenching pain that love brings, it is only love that will satiate us and soothe our souls.
And yet, if we peel back the layers of pain, if we allow ourselves to be completely honest, it is not really love itself that causes pain after all. It is us. We bring pain and destruction. We wound others with our thoughtless words and our cruelty. Love is not the poison; we are.
And it is our false belief that we are fundamentally unlovable that is the source of our poison. Whether it be from the mouths of parents, teachers, friends, or the talking heads within our society, we constantly hear the words, “You’re not good enough,” whispered to us. Before we know it, we are repeating those lies to ourselves and to those around us.
The lies that we have been fed overtly and subliminally throughout our lives are lessons that need to be unlearned. They come from an unholy place, and are thoughts which should be banished.
We are not, for instance, taught often enough that God loves us. So many of us are taught that we are evil by nature, that Eve, the original bearer of our shame, has rendered us defective and impure. We are taught that in order for God to love us, we must do x, y, and z or face damnation.
It is true that we “fell” from Gan Eden. It is true that since eating from the Tree of Knowledge, we have come to know both good and evil, whereas before, we only knew good. And yet to think that God, in all His omniscience and perfection, would make a mistake, is insane. God makes no mistakes. God is the exemplification of perfection, a kind of perfection that is beyond our comprehension.
It is wrong of us to say that we are inherently inadequate. God made us, and He made us in His image and likeness. If we are made in the image of God, how could we believe the lie that we aren’t good enough? God, Who is goodness Himself, created us.
Chassidus teaches us that the brightest light comes from the darkest places. God created Adam and Eve, fully aware of the sequence of events that would follow. It is not that He hoped we would fall or placed a trap for us: but God lights up the darkness (Psalm 18:29) and draws powerful light from the lowliest of places. And God made us in His image (Genesis 1:27), so that we, too, could light up the darkness. So that we, too, could peel back those layers, that outer shell, of darkness, and find within it His divine light.
The purpose of this, even with our “fallen” world, the world that knows both good and evil, is that we could all collectively peel back the layers and reveal, once again, God’s light. Except this time, it wouldn’t be the status quo. This time, it would be something we worked together with God to achieve. We will have become true partners in creation and redemption. And we will exemplify our intrinsic nature of being made in God’s image.
Yes, we are all fraught with sin and weakness. But crack open your soul, and you will find that the root of yourself is attached to the tree of life, God Himself. And that root can never be broken, no matter how far we fall. Our connection to God and His call is irrevocable (Romans 11:29); we are all in God, and God loves us like a father loves his child, and like a husband loves his wife. But God, unlike us, loves perfectly, and we cannot even begin to grasp the depths of His love for us.
It is only when we fully and permanently reject God that we are able to sever that connection. But God is good, and He has given us the gift of time. No choice made within time is permanent: each moment is a chance to begin anew.
Each moment is a chance to begin anew and to genuinely become God’s partners in creation: to pour love out onto His creatures; to love our fellow man without judgment, and without cruelty.
If you look closely, you will see that all human weaknesses and insecurities stem from one thing: insufficient love. Whether it is from childhood trauma, or a lack of understanding of love in adult life, we all suffer from a lack of love in some way.
Let us not forget that despite the wounds that have been inflicted upon us, despite the lie we have heard that we are inherently unlovable, God says the opposite: “With everlasting love have I loved you; therefore have I drawn you to Me with loving-kindness” (Jeremiah 31:2).
Let our eyes be fixed on God, Who is love Himself. Let us return to Him with confidence, assured that the love we share is sufficient, for love covers over all wrongs (Proverbs 10:12).
Read Part I of “Love” here.