You know that the LORD your God is the only true God. So love him and obey his commands, and he will faithfully keep his agreement with you and your descendants for a thousand generations. But if you turn against the LORD, he will quickly destroy you.
~Deuteronomy 7:9-10 (Contemporary English Version)~
What does it mean to say that God’s love is unconditional? Does it really mean that He loves us no matter what? Does it mean that He expects nothing in return for the love He so willingly gives? Does it really mean that even if we don’t love Him back that He will always love us? Well, yes. It really does. I thought for a long time about this question as I was praying earlier today.
Unconditional has always been one of those ideals that seemed unattainable in my life. Think about all of the strings that people attach to their attention, their love, and just their presence in your life. It is never really simple when you are dealing with people. Everyone has expectations and it is difficult not to place your own expectations for what people should be on just about everyone you meet. This is why marriages fail. It’s why children grow up wondering if they will ever be good enough for anyone or anything. It’s why there is so much pain in relationships. It’s especially true when our relationships with people aren’t built around first having a relationship with Christ.
An example of this in my life has been the relationship I have with my daughter. She may not realize it, but I see her as the greatest gift that God has ever given me. In my youth, I had always said that I didn’t want children. I didn’t want to be married. I couldn’t imagine myself ever being in those roles; wife and mother. But, when I got married and we decided that it was time to have a child, I had no idea just how much God would change me. At the time, I had little or no relationship with Christ and I actually thought I didn’t need one. Just to show me that I did need Him, He decided that it was time for me to stop playing around and to begin to understand what it means to really care for someone. Of course, I had been married for three years when we had Mya, but your relationship with your husband is very different from what you feel when you carry a child and give birth. There is something that happens inside when God allows you to grow this wonderful little person and to feel her moving around in there. And when you finally get to hold her in your arms, you never want to let her go. I never had a true understanding of what it meant to love someone with no strings attached until I held my daughter for the first time. I knew this would be one person that would never have to prove anything to me. I would love her always, no matter what. And I do.
Coming back to God has given me the other side of this. I now also know how it feels when someone loves you in this way. I understand now that God has kept me from the worst and brought me through the fire and into the light because He loves me unconditionally. He doesn’t care how much I drank or how many times I messed up when I was young and stupid. He doesn’t care that I was angry with Him after losing five babies. He doesn’t care that it took me more than twenty years to find Him again or that I took His blessings for granted during all of the years when I was travelling around my mountain. He has never given up on me and He probably should have. Many others probably would have and some actually did. But He knew the plan before I went through any of these things and He knew that I was going to come back to Him and finally understand what He’d been trying to show me.
I am learning more and more each day about God’s love for me and why I need to show others that same unconditional love. I don’t live for the things of this world. I only live to glorify Him and help others understand how much He does in their lives when they aren’t paying attention. For some, God’s love may seem to have conditions attached. If you count things like treating each other with love and kindness or appreciating His blessings as conditions, then you will undoubtedly miss the point that He accepts us as we are and for who we are and for what we will become. All He asks for in return is for us to receive that love and wear it proudly so that others will also allow Him to love them. Are you wearing God’s love proudly? Or do you have it hidden somewhere under layers of crap that you’re wearing for someone or something else? If so, it’s time to take off those layers and put on the glory of God. There’s no label, but then, no label is necessary. It’s just God and that’s all it needs to be.
But I will never brag about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his cross, the world is dead as far as I am concerned, and I am dead as far as the world is concerned.
~Galatians 6:14 (Contemporary English Version)~