Love is the great reward for the truly courageous. For most of my life, I’ve seen little to no connection between courage and love but the more I grow, the more I see they are inseparably linked. In fact, it takes a tremendous amount of courage to love and even more to be loved.
I tend to think of love as a soft emotion. It’s gentle, sweet, a little feminine and nice. Courage on the other hand is about facing fear, bold action, being a man and taking risks. Maybe love inspires courageous action (the Mom who plunges into a rushing river to save her child) but that’s about the only connection. Other than that, love is what you get to come home to after a long day of being courageous.
But it takes incredible courage to love someone well. It takes courage to put their interests ahead of your own (Phil. 2:3-4) Bearing, believing, hoping and enduring all things (1 Cor. 13:7) isn’t for the faint of heart. Showing grace even when none is promised in return takes strength, not weakness.
For many of us, the only thing harder than loving well is allowing others to love us well. We put up fronts, do an act and play the role the world has assigned us and wonder why love seems so distant. Vulnerability is the doorway to love. It takes tremendous courage to allow others to see the real us – our sins, our fears, our hopes and our dreams. When sin entered the world, Adam and Eve hid. Humanity has been in hiding ever since and it takes courage to come out and live in the light.
When we do, we find love. From God and from one another. The gospel tells the story of a God who doesn’t reject us because of our brokenness but rather dies in our place so that we can be made whole. The purest love we’ll ever know is the love of God. He knows everything there is to know about us and covers all of our hideousness with His beauty. When we understand that, we can taste the joy of loving others the same way. And we find the courage to allow others to love us with a love shaped not by our merit but by the gospel of Christ.
Love is wonderful, powerful and transformational. It’s the reward for those with the courage to admit their weaknesses. It’s where we’re reminded we don’t have to have it all together because no one else does either.
Love takes courage. But it’s worth the risk.