I have a problem with forgiveness. I cannot let go of the afflictions I’ve suffered at the hands of a loved one. I lay it before the cross one day, and creep back in the dark of the night to steal it back again.
Pain is powerful. It controls us. In a sick way, it seduces us and makes us believe we are justified to cut off the flow of love in the direction of the offender. In one fell swoop of the mind, we make ourselves the judge, displacing the real Judge, whose ways are as high as the Heavens are from the Earth. Is that really what it looks like to commit my ways to Him?
Why must we always allow others to dictate whether we obey and follow the Lord’s call to holiness? We may not think that’s what we do but it is what happens whenever we withhold love from others.
I’m not doing _________ for her… she never _________ for me.
This sentiment, coming in many forms in our day to day conversation, is a regular one in my attitude. Whether it’s a rude customer, or difficult friend, or someone I’ll never cross paths with again – I love others based on how they love me. That is called conditional love.
But the Lord’s desire is for us is righteousness - a standard far above what the world merely requires. He commands from us unconditional love for all those around us.
Unconditional love seems dangerous ground for us because it pulls the rug of control and security from beneath us. It says, “You’re not in charge of policing the actions and attitudes of others. Your hurt feelings are not relevant when it comes to the love God commands of us for each other.” Harsh as it may sound at first, it is true. We avoid it because it feels unnatural to our natural flesh.
So, what is unconditional love?
Unconditional Love is NOT being a pushover; it is strength under control.
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. -2 Peter 1:3
Unconditional Love does not render justice impotent; God has promised justice for sin and mercy for sinners who turn to Him.
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! -Isaiah 30:18
Unconditional love is the defining characteristic of God; we love in this way if we claim to belong to God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. -1 John 4:7-8
Take some time to sit with the Lord and answer these questions. Tell Him honestly where you struggle. I pray and ask that God would gently reveal in His time what you need to hear.
How are you loving others today?
Have you ever experienced unconditional love? (In addition to salvation)
Is there something standing in the way of loving certain people?
What would it take to remove that obstacle?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Molly writes from her home in Ojai, CA where she also works full time as wife to Marco, mama to Lydia, and account specialist for a software company. She loves rain, early morning runs, and long road trips. Her happy place is a certain table at a local coffee shop with a pen, an empty notebook, and a few hours (and probably a few lattes!). Her writings can be found over at teaandtestimony.wordpress.com.