THE CONSTRAINTS OF LOVE
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For Christ's love constrains us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and … that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
Christianity is supposedly a limit to personal growth and potential because it constrains our freedom to choose our own beliefs and practices…. Freedom cannot be defined in strictly negative terms, as the absence of confinement and constraint. In fact, in many cases, confinement and constraint is actually a means to liberation…. If you have musical aptitude, you may give yourself to practice, practice, practice the piano for years. This is a restriction, a limit on your freedom. There are many other things you won’t be able to do with the time you invest in practicing... you’ve deliberately lost your freedom to engage in some things in order to release yourself to a richer kind of freedom to accomplish other things.
One of the principles of love – either love for a friend or romantic love – is that you have to lose independence to attain greater intimacy. If you want the “freedoms” of love – the fulfillment, security, sense of worth that it brings – you must limit your freedom in many ways. You cannot enter a deep relationship and still make unilateral decisions or allow your friend or lover no say in how you live your life. To experience the joy and freedom of love, you must give up your personal autonomy… A love relationship limits your personal options… Human beings are most free and alive in relationships of love. We only become ourselves in love, and yet healthy love relationships involve mutual, unselfish service, a mutual loss of independence. C. S. Lewis put it eloquently:
“Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
The Reason For God, by Timothy Keller, pg. 45-48.