Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Bruce Springsteen's Fear of Being Loved

Born in 1949, singer Bruce Springsteen was the eldest of three children, and the only son, in a working-class family in Freehold, New Jersey. The house in which Springsteen spent his early childhood was literally a ruin, the walls slowly collapsing. A subsequent house lacked running hot water, so the family filled the single tub with pots heated downstairs on the gas stove; the kids took turns bathing in the same water. Family relationships lacked stability. Bruce's grandmother was devoted to him, and his mother was loyal to her brooding and unstable husband, but rules were nonexistent. At five and six, Bruce was staying up until three in the morning and sleeping until three in the afternoon. He ate when and whatever he wanted. In his memoir Springsteen writes, "It was a place where I felt an ultimate security, full license and a horrible unforgettable boundary-less love. It ruined me and it made me."

Later in his life, Springsteen writes that he started therapy, probing the "mess that he was," to borrow the phrase he uses for his father. As he describes his habit of cutting off romantic relationships after a couple of years, he's clearly still wrestling with that "horrible unforgettable boundary-less love" from the past:

I wanted to kill what loved me because I couldn't stand being loved. It infuriated and outraged me, someone having the temerity to love me—nobody does that … and I'll show you why. It was ugly and a red flag for the poison I had running through my veins, my genes. Part of me was rebelliously proud of my emotionally violent behavior, always cowardly and aimed at the women in my life.

Possible Preaching Angles: God's Love; Christmas; Incarnation—In the Incarnation God came close to us so he could say and show "I love you'—even when we can't stand being love by him.

Related Sermon Illustrations

Nearly 80 Percent of Drivers Have Expressed 'Significant Anger'

According to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 80 percent of U.S. drivers expressed significant anger, aggression, or road rage behind the wheel at least ...

[Read More]

Man Contemplates Killing His Daughter's Rapist

In the fall of 2002, Rick Garmon's daughter, Katie, became a victim of date rape. She was 18-years-old at the time and a freshman in college. Too humiliated to speak about what ...

[Read More]