a love unrequited

Valentine’s is often seen as a celebration of romantic love–yet to many, it is a dreadful time of dwelling on one’s perhaps unreturned loves. My prayer is that even in seasons of rejection and one-sided loves, we may find ourselves loved like never before, and in turn love the other in light of Calvary love.

For the most of us, we’ve experienced seasons of finding ourselves growing fond for another person, only to later end in a heartbreak of an unrequited love. What follows a rejection is often the lingering “what-ifs” and the thought, “am I not enough?” And as we begin to question our self-worth, we tend to find comfort in the words: “you’re better off without him,” or “she doesn’t know what she’s missing out.”

Personally, I have had my own share(s) of unrequited, unreturned, even unspoken loves. And it has been true that I had, in the past, run to self-assurance for comfort. I had patted myself in the back and given myself my own pep talk on how the person who rejected me would later on be regretful.

But I have come to realize that what this does is that it leaves residues of resentment for the person who had not returned my feelings. These self-help talks (e.g. “you’ll find someone better,”) buffer our own insecurities by making less of the other person (“he’s not worth it,” or “she’s not even that great.”). In essence, we only feel better by devaluing the other person, even if only in our hearts.

Although it may surely be the “common practice,” I am a firm believer of how the Gospel ought to shape our entire lives, as we profess Christ to be Lord. Even if such self-talk may somehow boost our broken sense of self-worth, I hope we see how frail and vain this approach is. But let me show you a still more excellent way (1 Corinthians 12:31).

i am unlovable

The reason why we run to self-talk to buffer our own sense of self-worth is because rejection immediately makes us ask the question: “am I that unlovable?” And so we assess ourselves. We start to ask if we could have done things better, if we could have been better. The what-ifs start playing out in our minds. But perhaps if we could take a step back from dwelling upon the pain, we would be able to humbly acknowledge the hard truth.

For the answer to that question,
“am I that unlovable?”
is truly, a resounding
yes.”

The problem is that we live in a day and age where we are taught to be entitled, as though the Universe owes us something. We think we are deserving of love, and that rejection only means that the other person never got to see “our true worth”.

But the truth is that if we are honest with ourselves, we will know how wretched our hearts are. How truly alarming would it be, if the contents of our hearts and minds were put on display. We should not be playing the victim, friends–if we are brave enough to face the truth about who we are, then we should in fact, be self-loathing.

Truly, no one is “good” (Romans 3:10-12). Since the Fall of mankind, all our inclinations are evil (Genesis 6:5), and so there is no good in us to love.

the Lovely made Unlovely

We are unlovable–that is the hard truth. And so rejection should not take us by surprise. Cause if there is anyone who is lovely, but rejected–perhaps then we may be enraged.

Oh, but there is One.

There is One whose name is Love, who came to a world He had created. In love, He made the heavens and earth and all that is in it, yet the world found lesser loves to delight in. So Love instead came into this world, but even then He was rejected, beaten, scorned, mocked, to the point of His death upon crucifixion.

Friends, Christ is Him who is Love and Truly Lovely–but we see that Good Man despised and hung at Calvary.

And so perhaps as we feel the pain of unrequited loves, we might only ponder Him, who, though Lovely, took on all our unloveliness. Yet even then, we loved Him not.

“I know my worth is found in You, my Lord. Not in external adornment, nor in any goodness in me. But that You, the Perfect Lover, call me lovely.” (Journal, January 25, 2019).

unlovable but deeply loved

But He loved us, and He loves us, still. Though we are the ones unlovely–and Him, truly Lovely–Christ would love us to the point of His death at the Cross.

This is the Gospel. This is Good News. Not that we are good. Or that we are lovely. But that despite our being unlovable–Christ bestowed upon us His Loveliness. And so we can face this hard truth about who we truly are with deep hope and assurance.

Though the answer to that question,
“am I that unlovable?” is a resounding yes,”
another question remains:
“But am I loved?”
And the answer to that, is a most humbling,
Yes.

to love even if unrequited

So what then follows, as we come to know this truth?

  • It shall not make us conceited–we no longer need to comfort ourselves with the lies of “you deserve better.”
  • Nor shall it make us calloused–there is real, deep pain in rejection.

But we may face such hurts with much grace.

Dear loved one, I pray that if you are faced with a season of unrequited love–either now or ahead–may the love of Christ keep you. May you be assured of your worth in Him, of how He laid His life down for you. May He bestow upon you His kindness, in reminding you of who you are in Him.

And I pray, that He may likewise give you grace. To go through such a season with grace–that you may love him (or her) who received you not. Knowing that regardlesshe or she is first and foremost your brother or sister in the Lord, before a potential lover.

So rest in the leading of the Sovereign One. And rest in His leading of him or her–even if He leads the one you love, away from you.

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