February 20, 2022

Love That’s Returned to Sender

Written by Shana Schutte

He who has God’s love, loves.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 20, 2022

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7

I wish I could sit with you and have a chat about love. No, not about the kind that makes a woman’s heart swell. Not the kind a mother has for her child, or the kind a husband has for his wife–but the kind of love that isn’t returned. I wish we could talk because I’m certain you could tell me a story about a time when you gave your love away and it came back, like an unopened letter marked “return to sender.” Few things are more painful. 

When love is not reciprocated, it can feel so personal–like the reason we aren’t loved is all about us. We can believe lies that we’re not good enough or that our love is deficient in spite of our best efforts. Can you relate? I certainly can.

In my early twenties, I desperately wanted to marry a particular young man I had dated for over three years. I begged God to deliver him to me, but he married someone else. In the aftermath of my heartbreak, I walked through years of unanswered questions about myself, God, and the past. My memories were like a tangled ball of string, and I didn’t have enough information about what happened to untangle them. All I knew was that my best efforts to be kind, considerate and repentant for any wrong doing on my part didn’t earn me the acceptance and forgiveness I longed for. As a result, I believed the lie that my love was not good enough—that I wasn’t good enough. I had no idea I believed these lies until God placed His finger on it one morning years later.

As I sat to talk with Him, a thought filled my mind: He who has love, loves. Not knowing if God wanted to show me something through this, I wrote it in my journal. Within minutes, I opened my devotional and read 1 John 4:7 which reads, “Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”

A Holy Spirit light went on in my heart. How could I miss it? According to John, love starts with God, and we love because we know Him. He who has love [from God] loves. Certainly, we can draw love out of others, but only because it already exists in them. We can’t make others love us, no matter how good we are.

This is often a topic of conversation with the singles I coach. They feel the same, that somehow if they were just good enough, or better, or more, that someone would love them. Then, when I ask them if another person can make them love them, they pause and say, “No, no one can make me love them.” Why then do we believe that we can make others love us? 

Love is born in the heart of the one who loves. He who has love, loves. Beautiful, isn’t it?

If your father, mother, sister, brother, girlfriend, boyfriend, aunt, uncle, best friend, or any number of other people haven’t loved you, you can do your best in wooing them, but it’s ultimately up to them to extend love.

If you are like I was, living in guilt for believing you haven’t loved well enough, or been good enough to receive love, you can lay down that stick you’ve been beating yourself up with and do a cartwheel because He who has love, loves. I think that’s a truth worth celebrating!

“Help me, LORD my God; save me according to your unfailing love” (Psalm 109:26).


Lord, thank you that you have created me to give and receive love. Help me to remember that I can’t make anyone love me. This will free me to be myself and keep me from feeling condemned. Amen.


How do you feel when you think about the truth that you can’t make anyone love you?

Related Reading

Galatians 5:13; Hebrews 13:16; John 15:12-13

Worship Resource

Mack Brock: I am Loved


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