(Photo by Lindsay O’Neil)
By Zelda Dominguez
He said, “Can I kiss you?” And I said, “I’m sorry no, I don’t have feelings for you like that.”
Have you ever experienced unrequited love before? It’s agonizing and painful. I have been on both sides of it. Unrequited love or one-sided love is love that is not openly reciprocated, or understood as such by the beloved. The beloved may not be aware of the admirer’s deep and strong romantic affection, or may consciously reject it.
Who hasn’t had a crush on someone that wasn’t aware? I remember breaking off my wedding engagement only to find out years later how it must have felt for the other person. People expect love to always feel good. Relationships require you to be vulnerable, and sometimes that means someone will be hurt at some point.
The world views love as a romance. The definition of romance is the expressive and pleasurable feeling from an emotional attraction towards another person. Romance is a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love. The Bible speaks of Agape, a love that seeks what is best for others. It is unconditional, sacrificial, and selfless. Agape is the kind of love God feels for us, and we should feel toward him and others.
In a dating relationship, you gradually start to spend time with one another and in time you come to know the other person better. The time spent with each other communicating and listening, develops trust to form a deeper relationship.
What if you’re waiting for your date to show up, but he doesn’t arrive when he said he would? Would you call him? You’ve been in this relationship with him for a while, but day after day this happens. What if he stopped talking to you without any reason? Can your relationship still grow? I doubt that you would tolerate his actions for very long. Surprisingly, our relationship with Jesus cannot grow unless we meet with him daily in prayer and in His Word. Plus, it hurts God when we ignore or forget to spend that time with Him. If we don’t want it done to us, then we must ask ourselves why we do it to Jesus?
Unrequited love is mentioned all throughout the Bible. In the book of Hosea, the Lord commands one of his prophets Hosea to marry a prostitute names Gomer. Gomer was restless, unhappy, and did not love God or her husband. Gomer conceives many children that expose her sinful affairs. Hosea continuously threatens to disinherit her, but still she still chooses her past lovers that promise her material things. Hosea tries to stop her, but she continues to seek her companions in sin. Hosea was heartbroken and suffered deeply, yet he desperately wanted to restore his marriage. He had a heart full of forgiveness and loved Gomer unconditionally. Though she was an adulteress, God wanted Hosea to seek her out and prove his love for her. In the end, Gomer hits rock bottom. Hosea finds her destitute for sale in a slave market. The prophet was driven by that divine love that is written in the book of Proverbs. A love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things, and that never ends. With love, Hosea buys her from her slavery for fifteen shekels of silver and thirteen bushels of barley and brings her home.
The Lord refers often to Israel as his bride in the Bible. We can see that the book of Hosea is a picture of God’s redeeming love for Israel, and for us. The state of Israel at that time was prosperous, and extremely immoral and degenerate before it was taken captive. What grieved the Lord more than anything else, was the sin of idolatry. It included Canaanite practices they had adapted, such as religious prostitution and human sacrifice. This was blatantly against God’s commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me.” The Lord looked at his bride Israel as a spiritual adulteress.
In closing, I am blessed at the imagery throughout the Bible of the Bridegroom (Jesus Christ) and his bride. (believers) It speaks of His unending and redeeming love for us, and for those who have yet to accept His proposal. The Bible says while we were sinners, the Bridegroom chose us. Jesus Himself was rejected, (the ultimate unrequited love), and in spite of it, He laid down His life in order to pay our debt of sin and redeem us. “Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church and gave himself for her.” (Ephesians 5:26) The Bridegroom will return for his bride. Song of Solomon speaks of this love, and the bride’s longing for Him to return! How eager she was, and therefore how ready she made herself to meet with Him forever. My prayer is that we all prepare for the Bridegroom’s coming to claim us, His awaiting bride.