Have you ever had one of those times when something you’ve always known logically finally bores into your heart and you truly know it?
I had one of those recently. Without telling the back story, here’s my revelation.
God loves us unconditionally. This we all know correct? If you don’t already know this, then I’m telling you it now 😊
I’ve heard it since I was young. I’ve always known it. But it’s only been in the last few years that I thought about what that means.
A dear friend was telling me the other day that at one point in his life, he walked away from God. And we have discussed the outcome of this attempted journey away from God. But when he said the words “when I walked away from God” a picture formed in my head. The picture was this friend of mine turning his back on God and walking away, and God (in the form of Jesus) without missing a step stayed as close as possible to my friend.
You see, if you walk away from God, every time you turn around, he will be standing just as close to you as He was when you turned to walk away. You can not walk away from God. If fact, you could spit in the face of God, and he would just smile and say “oh my son/daughter I love you sooooo much.”
This is powerful, this is beyond my comprehension. This is the most wonderful news you can hear. God always loves you, God always likes you, God never is mad at you, and God does not require anything from you to earn His acceptance and love.
Now, this I have know, really known, for some time now. What comes next is the next logical step that has begun to bore it’s way into my heart.
We are told, by Jesus, that people will know that we belong to Jesus, by the love we have for each other. Again something I’ve known for a long time. We must love our brothers and sisters in Christ.
But let’s take Gods definition of love, which I described above, and apply it to Jesus’s instructions to love each other.
This is the part that has recently pierced my heart. We are to show that same unconditional Love to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
I’m not sure I’ve ever done that. Sure I have said, I love you, and I do help a lot of people. And I’m reasonably considerate and nice to my Christian brethren. Etc. Etc.
But, when a Christian brother or sister offends me in some way, my reaction is not usually very good. I have been known to sever ties with fellow believers because I don’t think they are “doing it right”. What arrogance. Nothing gives me that right. In fact that is in direct violation of Christ’s instructions to us.
I think that I just never really considered the matter. I’ve always said, sure I love my brethren in Christ, but then just didn’t give much thought to what that truly meant.
We are instructed to show unconditional love to fellow Christians. And I think, without exploring the details, that should include not only fellow Christians but non Christians and even our enemies. But I’m specifically talking about our fellow believers.
How often in my lifetime have I thought in my heart of hearts, that guy is an idiot, knowing full well, that he is a fellow follower of Christ? Very, very often, in fact I think I do this on a regular basis.
Of course Christ is the only one capable of perfect love all of the time for everyone. We are flawed, fallen, human beings. There is no way that we can love, truly, unconditional love all of the time, or even some of the time. But, because Christ asked us to, we really do need to try. And if we try, Christ will pour his love through you.
The love we are supposed to show to each other is not just saying “I love you” or praying for someone who is in need. Those things are great, and we should do them. But think about what I said earlier. You could literally spit in Gods face, and he would smile and just say “I love you, you are precious to me”. We are to strive for that kind of love for each other.
We can not love people, if we attach anything else to the love. We can not love someone, and at the same time be offended by them. The two things cannot exist together. You can have your feeling hurt this is natural, but if having your feelings hurt causes you to banish them from you presence, that is not unconditional love. Perfect love does not care about “self”. Perfect love only cares about the other person. But again, we are not capable of this, but God is, and through us He can show his love to others. But you’ve got to open yourself to Him for this to happen.
I don’t think this means you stay in an abusive relationship because you’re trying to love the person abusing you. Love never means you should “enable” someone. In other words, love does not mean you go buy alcohol for someone who has a drinking problem. You should help your fellow humans as much as you are able, but our ability typically is very limited. We all have families and responsibilities and work etc. etc.
But I think and I have been convicted that what I personally need to work on is that ability to take an insult, take a judgment against my character, take someone else’s stupid decisions, and (this is the one that hits a little to close to home for me) take my fear of being hurt, and discard my judgment and fear and have the ability to just say “I love you and you are special to me”.
I am arrogant, I am proud, I might be the proudest person you know, except yourself of course 😏 but God is working in me and you. God is working and that makes me happy and afraid at the same time. Change is painful, but God is Good, and we rest in his hand. Sit back and enjoy the wild, crazy, scary ride.
Remember the good news: God loves you, God likes you, God is never mad at you, and God requires nothing from you to earn his love and acceptance.