When my children were small, I loved them with my whole heart.
I loved them when they were sleeping, and when they were awake throwing a temper tantrum. I loved them when they were playing quietly in their room, and when they were coloring on the walls. I loved them when they were joyfully sharing toys with each other, and when they were running through the house screaming because the other one wouldn’t give back a toy.
I loved them no matter what.
And while it might have been easier to be in their presence when they weren’t screaming or destroying the house, I loved them anyway. Nothing could have changed that. I still would have jumped in front of a train to save them, even if those crayons were still in their pudgy little hands.
That’s what real love is. It’s unconditional.
You’ve heard that about God’s love before, too haven’t you? That it’s unconditional? But if you’re honest, you immediately dismiss the thought as “for other people” or you think, “that’s true, but I still need to do better”.
Today I feel compelled to drive this point home to you. God’s love for you is unconditional. Truly, completely, and wholeheartedly unconditional.
When Christ gave His life for you and me, willingly and painfully, on the cross at Calvary, He did it with out respect for persons. John 3:16 says “for God so loved the world (that’s all of us imperfect, flawed, unforgiven people) that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”. Notice here that scripture does not say that He gave His life for those that already knew Him, loved Him, did what was right, or didn’t do what was wrong. He gave His life SO THAT we would believe in Him, not because we already did.
Then there’s Ephesians 2:8. “For it is by grace you have been saved, though faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”. Did you catch that? It is NOT from yourselves; it is a gift. Love is a gift, not a payment.
Jeremiah 31:3 says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness”. God loves us first, and then He draws us with kindness. Isn’t that how we parent? My love for my children is based solely on the fact that my kids are my kids. And because they are my kids, I do my best to teach them, and to develop them into better humans as they grow. But I do that BECAUSE I love them. I don’t love them BECAUSE they already ARE better humans.
Are you getting this?
God loves you unconditionally. He loves you whether you are sitting on the couch right now in your jammies with messy hair, or dressed and ready for the day. He loves you whether you crossed all the things off your to do list yesterday, or you simply changed the date on the top. He loves you whether you let loose when you were angry about something, or you managed to keep it under wraps. He loves you whether your house is spotless, or if you aren’t even sure where the vacuum is. He loves you whether you read your bible this week, or if you didn’t.
He loves you.
God is our father. He is a parent, like a lot of us.
And He is the perfect parent.
That’s why He is able to separate unconditional love from performance-based love.
If you can do that for your own children, then it stands to reason that God can do that for His children.
1 John 3:1 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! For that is what we are!”
That’s you and I sister! The children of God! He has lavished His love on us! And He did that before we knew Him. Before we even understood that we should.
He gave His love to us without reserve, and THEN He drew us with His unfailing kindness.
There are times when I may have been disappointed in my children’s behavior, but those times did not change my love for them one ounce. Not then and not now. It is a faithful love that never ceases. That kind love is independent of shortcomings. That kind of love is not based on perfection either.
I want you to really dwell on this. There is joy and completeness in fully realizing that God’s love is 100% unconditional.
I will leave you with Romans 5:8. “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If His love for us was so completely unconditional that it did not stop Him from giving His life for us on the cross, then I think it’s safe to say that nothing will.
He loves you no matter what.