It’s not unconditional love if you expect a return on your investment. It’s not giving away yourself if you hope for greater reward for the sacrifice; that’s not truly a sacrifice. We’re still thinking about, “me, me, me.” Unconditional love is what Jesus offers every day. It’s the forgiveness of sins when we ask Him to forgive. It’s never having that resolved issue thrown back in our face every time we make a mistake. The most common mistakes of people-love is:
1) Marriage: spouses never letting each other forget a resolved issue.
2) Parents: parents working to make their kids beholden to them for being born as well as other growing pains.
3) Friendships: giving and expecting a return on the friendship; “you scratch my back; I scratch yours.”
4) Adult Children: Never forgiving their parents’ mistakes and blaming the woes of their life on them.
5) Volunteers: “I helped you with this; why won’t you help me with that?”
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we perfectly loved each other, not according to how we view the world, but how Jesus views it? None of us can walk away from those examples without feeling the flush of guilt on our cheeks. We can scream, “WWJD,” and still act like hypocrites. Christ loves perfectly. Our Father in Heaven is the perfect father—the parent who will never walk away; the parent who will listen even if He disapproves; the parent who loves us and bandages our boo-boos; the parent that fights for us when we cannot fight back; the parent who disciplines us; and the parent who knows us and knows what choices we should make because He sees what’s around that blind corner; the parent who wants us to be happy, but not at the expense of sinning; the parent who never plays games; the parent who will never lie to us. This broken world with its broken families sometimes gives us poor examples of who our Heavenly Father is and that is why we must rely upon His Word to have an accurate picture of Him. In Him, we find examples of unconditional love.
Unconditional love is an intentional choice I strive to make every day. When I offer help, I don’t expect that person to give something in return. I may think it at times when I need help, but I remind myself that I can’t love them unconditionally in the way Jesus said if I only invest in someone. We should as the Bible states forgive that loan and not expect a return on our interest. We should simply give of ourselves and our time because we love, even if imperfectly, the friend or neighbor we are trying to help. It’s the same with writing.
In the writing world, we help out each other to a point. I have a problem with asking writer friends for referrals. To me, that changes the friendship. I wonder sometimes how many wanna-be writers ask established writers to refer them, and where can established writers know where there is real friendship or contrived friendship? Unconditional love reminds me that I don’t want a return. If it happens, I am happy and grateful. If it doesn’t, I have a friend who makes time to have coffee with me or chats online.
This is the lesson that God has been teaching me lately when I got frustrated by a lack of return on something. I realized I didn’t truly give freely of my time if I am feeling frustrated by a lack of response. I didn’t give out of love.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for teaching me further about unconditional love.