The blog*spot of Dale Wayne Campbell, NOW coming at you from Auckland, New Zealand. (!)


Love That Hurts

Love That Hurts

Northcote Baptist Church

Evening Service Sermon - 22 April, 07

Some people are hard to Love.

Why are some people less ‘love-able’ than others?

Why can’t everyone just be like me?

Don’t each of us wish people were just like ‘I’? (personality, beliefs, etc.?)

Well, like it or not, not everyone is as cool as ‘I’…

The whole point of Love is to learn to Love the people that we are least likely to Love.


I’m NOT going to talk tonight about how sick and wrong the world’s definition of ‘love’ is… You probably already know that.

I’m NOT going to read 1 Corinthians 13 – even though it truly IS one of the greatest statements EVER about love.

There are SO MANY Bible verses on Love that are simply Brilliant, but I’m NOT going to try and highlight all of them…

And No, I’m NOT going to list the various Greek/Hebrew words for love… J

What I AM going to do, however, is to talk about God. And you and me, of course…

God IS… Love.

If we are going to get even the slightest idea what love looks like and if we are going to even barely get a suggestion of what love in OUR lives might look like, we have nobody else to talk about than God.

We need to talk about God and His story WITH and IN the world.

We need to talk about OUR PLACE in God’s story.

God’s story, you see, is the Story of Love. Not some cheap, push-over Love that comes and goes, but a Love that is powerful-yet-gentle, uncompromising-yet-welcoming and just-yet-forgiving. We need to know, experience and share this kind of love.

To the Story we go.

God is pure, eternal, unbounded and unrestrained Love.

Trinity = 3-way love relationships

God has barely created Adam and Eve before He is wounded deeply by their rejection of Him. Whatever we think about ‘talking snakes’ and ‘trees with knowledge growing on them’, the point of the Garden story is that the first humans rejected God.

God was wounded. Only a PARENT with a child who’s gone astray can understand in the least bit how God feels when we disobey.

His justice sent them out of the garden – out of direct fellowship with Him - but His mercy and grace gave them clothes to wear. BOTH were acts of Love.

Later, (and many times in-between, of course) God was wounded AGAIN...

This time it was the entire human race. In Genesis 6, ‘the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that EVERY intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.’

A few verses later tells us that ‘the earth was filled with violence.’ We probably can’t imagine the level. (‘sons of God’ taking women in 6:2-4???)

His justice sent the flood… but His grace and mercy found Noah and saved Him.

This pattern continues in big and small ways – in personal and national ways. The Tower of Babel - Sodom & Gomorrah; the Israelites and the Exodus; the cycle of Judges and Kings of Israel; the divided Kingdom.

Through the captivity of His people in Babylon

Through their oppression under Nebuchadnezzar

Through their oppression under Roman rule…

God suffers because of the actions of humanity.

God suffers over the plight of the world.

God suffers with His people.

God suffers a lot.

Guess what else????

Right through the whole story…

...God’s PEOPLE suffer a lot as well.


Suffering when they’ve cut themselves off from God…

Suffering under oppression from others…

Suffering when tragedy strikes…

God’s people suffer INDEED.

What do YOU do with suffering?

The truth is, we don’t have much to do with suffering at ALL.

We’re safe and warm within our Western affluent lifestyle.

Right NOW there are suffering believers ALL OVER THE WORLD, and we’re sitting here very comfortable and safe.

So, what does GOD DO WITH SUFFERING???

He embraces it.

Jesus embraced the suffering and the shame of the CROSS.

Guess what led Him there? Love.

Suffering was the reality under the Romans. What did Jesus do with it?

He could have chosen the path of REVOLT. But NO.

He could have chosen the path of ESCAPE. But NO.

He chose the path of ENDURANCE.

He chose the path of Love. Love that hurts.

Jesus chose not to ATTACK

Jesus chose not to ESCAPE

Jesus chose to ENDURE

Please listen carefully as we look at how these three options are lived out in situations WE encounter. (HAVE PEOPLE REPEAT 3 OPTIONS)

Marriage Attack = trying to change, manipulate or control

Escape = separation, emotional withdrawal, affair

Endure = communication, sacrifice, mutual submission

Politics Attack =use power to force legislation, ‘Christian right’

Escape =withdraw completely from (Jehovah’s witness)

Endure =salt and light, persuade (take faith INTO party)

Business Attack =adversarial competition (banks, telecom/v-fone)

Escape =withdraw from business (commune / Amish, etc.)

Endure =Justice, Fair Trade – (Warning: UNSUCCESSFUL)

WHY do we Attack or Escape… and not ENDURE???

This is key.

We would rather have happiness than JOY.

The world RUNS on the pursuit of happiness.

The way of Love comes with – NOT happiness – but JOY.

Happiness is determined by what HAPPENINGS. Joy is present in ALL happenings.

MERE happiness…

Happiness wants to change the other person to make me Happy

Happiness wants to escape the UN-happy circumstances

Happiness wants to skip the weakness and have strength

Happiness wants to skip the foolishness and have wisdom

Happiness wants to skip the death and have life

Happiness wants to skip the dying on the cross and go straight to resurrection.

It would be a great tragedy if Jesus had been concerned with the pursuit of mere happiness.

Let us seek to Love like Jesus, ‘…who for the JOY set before Him…

Skipped the cross and went straight into resurrection?

Built a military army and tried to over-throw the Romans?

Ran out into the hills and joined the Essenes?


“…for the JOY set before Him, ENDURED the cross, despising the shame, and THEN… only THEN… has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

The next verse in Hebrews 12 goes on to say, “consider Him who ENDURED such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged…”

I know this message seems like it’s all about walking around all depressed and sad… so let me be clear; THERE IS JOY, but REAL joy is on the other side of hardships. NOT from running around or away from them!

Which relationship do you respect more? The 14-year old couple with their hands ALL over each-other in the mall? Or the 75 year-old couple that has stuck together through thick and thin? Which represents Love?

I’m not trying to be depressing, I’m trying to be REALISTIC. There are moment of INTENSE and ABOUNDING joy in the Christian life, but the pattern for the Christian life is fixed by the DEATH and RISING of Jesus.

It’s not just abstract Theology. It’s a WAY OF LIFE.

Take up your suffering, weak, unpopular, unfashionable, foolish Cross and Follow Jesus. THAT’s the way of Love. True Love.

Love that hurts.

We have a God who loves so much that it Hurts Him. Matter of fact it Kills Him.

That’s not a cheap, feel-good, happy love. That’s a Love that confuses the wise, and gets mocked by scoffers… AND happens to be a Love that can and WILL change the world.

Love that hurts.




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