Most people, and certainly those with healthy minds and hearts, want to be loved. But sometimes there’s the opposite problem: we cannot for the life of us accept a certain person’s advances or acts of love generally.
There are a great many reasons why we may not find it easy to accept a person’s love.
From vacant trust, to no need of a relationship with them, to perhaps the fact that receiving gifts (in this case, their love) — of itself — is the problem.
Situations and Considerations
There are three situations I want to tackle:
1. Someone has worn your trust and they’ve done nothing to force you to reconsider your position. So, should you feel guilty for not accepting their love?
þ No, you should not feel guilty.
þ Rather there should be a vindication that a soft heart has been taken advantage of; a strong-minded response to forgive, but not trust, would be appropriate.
þ There is now no obligation to be in fellowship with a person who cannot be trusted. But they too are free of any potential malice that might come from us.
2. There are advances being made toward you that are either unnecessary or unneeded and therefore there is no God-willed need of a relationship with them. Again, should you feel guilty for not accepting their love?
þ No, you should not feel guilty. There is no reason for intimacy to be developed here.
þ There are a great number of people in our world waiting to prey on kind people’s good nature for their own gain. As a percentage, these people make up only a small number of the populace, but they create a large relational concern.
þ Our skill to learn is to become firm with them — acting with assertiveness — and gently withdraw (in a polite way) from their presence. When learned, the acquisition of this skill brings gleeful confidence.
3. There is a problem, generally, with your will to accept things (help, gifts etc) from people genuinely wanting to give their love.
þ If issues like the two above don’t exist — in other words, if there’s no reason to not accept their help and gifts — we should ask ourselves if pride is the issue for us.
þ Sometimes the issue is we don’t want to “owe” people. It’s true that if we feel like we’ll have to owe someone, we probably shouldn’t accept the gift.
þ Part of loving others and abiding to Jesus’ command to love is accepting the appropriate love of others; that is, the loving acts of family and close friends — those people who have our permission to remain intimately acquainted.
The Value of Instinct
We best learn to trust our instincts.
If we have a problem accepting someone’s love — all that they can offer, appropriate and not — there’s usually good reason for it.
People don’t always act with golden intent. Our role here is to protect ourselves, and our instincts are doing a fine job alerting us to the potential dangers.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.