Chains small

Love deficits

dealing with attacks on our acceptability

Side notes

All Bible references are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

[1] 1 John 4:16
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

[2] Genesis 1:27
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

[3] 1 John 3:1-2
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

[4] 1 Peter 1:22
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart..

[5] John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

[6] Romans 12:10
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

[7] 1 Thessalonians 4:9
Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another..

[8] Romans 12:10
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

[9] Romans 1:31
..foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

[10] Proverbs 7:18
Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love.

[11] Mark 10:6-9
But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

[12] John 3:3
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

[13] 1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead..

[14] Matthew 6:9
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”

[15] Ephesians 1:2-14 tlb
May his blessings and peace be yours, sent to you from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every blessing in heaven because we belong to Christ. Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault—we who stand before him covered with his love. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to! Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favor that he has poured out upon us because we belong to his dearly loved Son. So overflowing is his kindness toward us that he took away all our sins through the blood of his Son, by whom we are saved; and he has showered down upon us the richness of his grace—for how well he understands us and knows what is best for us at all times. God has told us his secret reason for sending Christ, a plan he decided on in mercy long ago; and this was his purpose: that when the time is ripe he will gather us all together from wherever we are—in heaven or on earth—to be with him in Christ forever.
Moreover, because of what Christ has done, we have become gifts to God that he delights in, for as part of God’s sovereign plan we were chosen from the beginning to be his, and all things happen just as he decided long ago. God’s purpose in this was that we should praise God and give glory to him for doing these mighty things for us, who were the first to trust in Christ. And because of what Christ did, all you others too, who heard the Good News about how to be saved, and trusted Christ, were marked as belonging to Christ by the Holy Spirit, who long ago had been promised to all of us Christians. His presence within us is God’s guarantee that he really will give us all that he promised; and the Spirit’s seal upon us means that God has already purchased us and that he guarantees to bring us to himself.

[16] Psalms 103:13-14
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.

[17] Matthew 11:28
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

[18] Psalms 68:5
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.

[19] Romans 5:5
..and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

[20] Titus 3:5
..he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit..

[21] John 13:34
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

[22] 1 John 4:11-12
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

[23] Matthew 18:3
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

[24] 1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

[25] Acts 26:20
..but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.

[26] 1 John 1:8-10
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

[27] Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

[28] Matthew 6:13
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

[29] Acts 8:22-23
“Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”

[30] Ephesians 4:26
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger..

Just as rejection attacks our standards, so lack of love towards us attacks our standing – ‘who I am is not good enough’.

  1. God is love. 1 John 4:16[1]
  2. God has made humanity in his image. Genesis 1:27[2]
  3. God desires to mutually share love with his human creation. 1 John 3:1-2[3]
  4. God desires his human creation to mutually share love with each other. 1 Peter 1:22[4]

In our secular society, love generally seems to be understood as a behavioral pattern that includes some form of sexual interaction. It is rapidly becoming less and less important as to whether that sexual interaction be between opposite genders, the same genders, or even humans with animals.

The human being is created by God to give and receive love. The tragic truth, however, is that the deep hungering to be loved is never satisfied through jumping into bed with someone. Every honest person will admit that sleeping around has not removed one ache of emptiness.

So, what is this love that makes up God and into which he has imaged us?

In the Greek language (in which parts of the Bible were originally written) there are four separate and distinct words concerning love – agape, phileo, storgē and eros.


This is the commitment to seek the best for another no matter what the personal cost. Genders don’t matter. This is the sort of love that would cause a soldier to lay down his life for his country. It does not depend on any feelings activating it; it comes from decisions of the will. It matters not the condition, status or closeness of the recipient. It is freely given without any expectation of return. Whether or not it is accepted or rejected, it is still simply given. God is love like this, and he commands and expects us to display the same love towards all humanity. John 15:13[5]


This is the intimate, yet totally non-sexual, friendship between two or more people. Genders don’t matter. It is to be given and received. To fully enter into this type of relationship there has to be a very personal closeness with someone. It means that loyalties will stay and secrets be kept even when the ugly is revealed in a friend’s character. It means, therefore, that we cannot enter into such a relationship with a very large number of people, we simply don’t have the time to get to know large numbers of others this deeply. Romans 12:10[6] (this verse combines both phileo and storgē), 1 Thessalonians 4:9[7]


This can be described as the security that comes from having a family to come home to at night. Ones with whom we can enjoy a meal, borrow some clothes from or share our money with. Genders don’t matter. This is a relationship by blood. Again, there is no sexual involvement here. This relationship involves few people, maybe five or six, often less, sometimes more if grandparents or relatives are closely involved. Romans 12:10[8] (this verse combines both phileo and storgē), Romans 1:31[9] (negative sense – heartless)


The receiving of sexual pleasure. Self-centred. Designed to be received from only one person and that within the boundaries of marriage. Genders definitely do matter. The Bible is crystal clear. Marriage is to be only between male and female. This Greek word is not specifically found in the New Testament. Proverbs 7:18[10], Mark 10:6-9[11]

Do you see the pattern? Agape everyone selflessly. Phileo a reasonably small number through both giving and receiving. Storgē by birth with very few, again both giving and receiving. Eros only one person, within marriage, providing self-satisfaction only.


The problem

There should be no doubt that God desires our best (agape). We only have to look at the cross of Jesus to see that. He also longs for our friendship (phileo), and will adopt us into the security of his family, through the blood of Jesus (storgē), if we will only let him. God is himself not involved in eros at all. Although he has most certainly made us to receive sexual pleasure, it is designed to result from the commitment of our marriage partner in the other three forms of love. The world system, of course, seeks to channel all forms of love into eros, knowing full well the dissatisfaction and emptiness that will result.

By the way, the church also has often missed the true meanings of love. Because of its inability to discern between phileo and eros, it has often cast both aside, resulting in countless lonely and rejected Christians wandering from church to church, not really sure what they hunger for, but somehow knowing that Christianity has to be better than what they currently endure.

The Bible teaches that God has placed us into a spiritual family when we were ‘born again’. He becomes our Father. Indeed the threefold person of God is called Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God wants the Church family to mirror in the flesh what he has established in the spiritual. John 3:3[12], 1 Peter 1:3[13], Matthew 6:9[14], Ephesians 1:2-14[15]

He has established the Church to be a demonstration to the world of what complete pure love truly means. We read, for example, in John 13:35NLT “Your love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

Isn’t it sad how often we, as Christians, miss our calling.

There is good news though! Will you let God heal you?


The solution

God wants to, and can, do something about the pain. Psalms 103:13-14[16], Matthew 11:28[17]

He has committed himself to be “…a Father of the fatherless” Psalms 68:5[18] and has the power to heal our past wounds, disappointments and failures. He knows that pain doesn’t vanish by willpower. He longs to heal the love deficits created within if only we will acknowledge them and allow his Holy Spirit to work in us. But we have to let him. He himself caused these pertinent words to be penned in Jeremiah 6:14tlb You can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there!. If we choose to ignore our deficits or pretend they don’t exist then we remain as we are and they are by default passed on to those who come after us.

There are two prime ways by which love deficits can be healed. Neither one usually works to the exclusion of the other.

  1. The direct ministry of the Holy Spirit through another person. Romans 5:5[19], Titus 3:5[20]
  2. The ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit through the family of God – i.e. the Church. John 13:34[21], 1 John 4:11-12[22]

Direct ministry can be powerful and effective, provided the one involved in doing the ministering is pure in attitude, sincere in love, and honourable in ANY physical contact. This is the sort of occasion where, through the laying on of hands, the Holy Spirit reaches deep into our memories and brings to the surface areas of hurt. They may be ones still festering in our conscious memories, or they may be those buried so deep that we have seemingly forgotten them. Forgotten or not, they are there and will continue to have an effect on our lives unless dealt with and healed.

Under the leadership and comfort of the Holy Spirit there are often floods of tears as healing takes place. Precious times indeed. (Please note that these times of ministry have nothing to do with any New Age counterfeits. God wants us to be child-like, not child-ish. There is a world of difference between these two forms of behaviour.) Matthew 18:3[23], 1 Corinthians 13:11[24]

The ongoing ministry of the family of God is designed to bring healing at a much slower pace and generally over a long period of time. This ministry allows others to serve us with agape, phileo and storgē love. We gradually come into wholeness as we learn to trust again. Slowly we are able to do away with bitterness and anger by having true love made visible for us to recognise and receive. Thus are our fragile memories and emotions restored into the image of our Creator. Thus are we more able to reach out a nervous hand to our Father in Heaven who is as yet invisible, and receive his love toward us.

Like rejection, love deficits stir up and involve the Christian’s three enemies – the flesh, world and devil.

As has already been stated, hurting people hurt people, and we are no exception to the rule. There are bound to come sinful reactions in response to our wounding – anger, bitterness, sexual promiscuity, mistrust, independence, and withdrawal – to name just a few. These reactions are sin, and need to be willingly faced and dealt with through repentance and maybe restitution. Acts 26:20[25], 1 John 1:8-10[26]

Keep firmly in mind that we must forgive wherever we have been wounded. God has no place for sin, and he has no place for unforgivingness. If he can forgive us our lifetime of wickedness against him, then we can forgive the isolated incidences or even the few years of wickedness against us. Matthew 6:14-15[27]

If the deficits are deep enough, demonic strongholds can be established within, and these need to be broken. We cannot expect to maintain healing if thieving demons are allowed to continue residence. They will foul territory as fast as it is cleansed, if not evicted. Matthew 6:13[28], Acts 8:22-23[29], Ephesians 4:26[30]


In summary

God is love.

He has made us in his image. We are therefore created to give and receive love.

He desires to share his love with us, and to have us respond with love.

God has programmed into us four types of love:

  1. Agape – selfless and towards everybody.
  2. Phileo – close mutual friendships with only a few.
  3. Storgē – the security of family life, only for those related by blood.
  4. Eros – selfish and from only one, and that within marriage.

The Church is supposed to be the vehicle through which God displays his love to the world and to each other. He uses the Holy Spirit to bring healing, either directly, or through others in the family of God.

We have to give God permission to heal us, and we have to deal appropriately with the flesh, world and devil.

Lord bless

This paper seeks to accurately represent the teachings of Holy Scriptures. You are free to copy or alter all or any part of this paper PROVIDED that the Holy Scriptures are not misrepresented as a result.