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Archive for July, 2013

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?…… ” Matthew 5:43-48

We’ve heard these two words, “unconditional love” so often in the pulpit, read it in books, talked about it, pondered it but we as Christians still really don’t understand the full meaning from God’s point of view.

What is it anyway? How do I love unconditionally? We’ve heard the story of the prodigal son and how the father took him back after he went crazy with a rebellious life and was accepted unconditionally by his father. That certainly sounds like unconditional love to me. Unconditional means “not limited by conditions; absolute”. Another way to look at it, “If you start acting nice to me, I will love you and only then will I love you.” No, that is NOT unconditional….there are things I have to DO or SAY to get your love. I think that the father in the prodigal son loved his son even when the son was away living it up. I think he may have been going down to the road every morning, looking for his son to come back…and one day when the father finally saw him trudging up the road toward him, maybe even almost crawling, I think, he went absolutely wild with love for his son and he showed it too!! But his other son sure didn’t. He didn’t understand that unconditional love. To him, he had done everything right and felt his father should give HIM a party, not his brother!

We are so like that. We think we have to earn God’s love and we sure act that way….filling our days with “good works” being motivated by the fact we believe that God will certainly bless us and definitely have a place for us in heaven. What should be our motivation? God’s grace +His mercy = loving us  “while we were yet sinners”, that should be our motivation to live the life that glorifies Him.

Once we grasp the grace and mercy God has freely bestowed on us, only then can we give out love when it isn’t deserved. I will tell you it isn’t easy, and if you try to do it on your own, you won’t be able to ….but love as Christ loves us…..

“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?”

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