If you can, before reading the post, take a few minutes to listen to the music linked below:
How Deep the Father's Love for Us - Anna Golden
How Deep the Father's Love for Us - Anna Golden
John 3:16 ESV "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
I am thankful for how my mother decided to raise me. She made it a point to teach me all about love. Not every parent does this, yet it is so important. Without the knowledge of how to love - hate has a greater chance of clouding a clear mind. Because my mom decided she was going to break this painful cycle of hatred with her child, she allowed me to live in a freedom that I do not believe she was even able to have. Humanity is stuck in this hate cycle and the only way to break it is by teaching up children in a Christ like love. I can truly go on forever about the love in the world today but all of that is a conversation for another time. I mentioned that little story about my mom because even though I was taught almost everything about how to love people in a Christ like way, somehow I managed to learn a corrupted image of what Gods love towards us looks like.
Growing up in a Christian private school has its benefits and downfalls. My personal biggest downfall in school is that I did not bother looking anything up and doing my own research. I allowed whatever my teachers or preachers in Chapel tell me be the ultimate truth. Now, that is not the worst thing that could have happened but there was a lot - and I mean A LOT - of information that fell through the cracks.
Even though I knew how to love others I did not know how others were supposed to love me or how I was supposed to love myself. I did not realize how crucial this is. I did not understand that knowing those two things would deepen the love I have towards others.
Love is not conditional.
Love is not forceful.
Love does not keep a record.
Learning those three statements were such a big step forward within my faith.
I strongly believed that there were limits to Gods love, forgiveness, and grace. From elementary to middle school I thought every time I committed a sin I had to ask God into my heart all over again. If I am not reading the Bible or praying every day God would not see me as His. I thought that it was all about my actions but it is really God's grace and love that has saved me. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not just a result of works, so that no one may boast."
True love keeps no record: I have lived a life full of mistakes. If I kept records of the people I love and their mistakes I would be such a hypocrite. I think about all the records God could keep on me. All the times He has loved me but I turned my back to Him. I should be casted down into darkness. Yet, He forgives me and washes me clean. My mistakes, wrong doings, and sins are washed. They are not recorded. They are forgiven. They are cleansed.
Titus 3:4-7 ESV "But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing and regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
True love is not forced: If someone has forced us to love them, is it then love? If we do not have a choice then it is just mind control. Just as Jesus was not forced to give up His life for me. I have free will to love and trust Him or to do the complete opposite. That is why Eve was able to choose to take the fruit from the devil. If God's love was forced on us and our love forced onto Him we would just be robots and what's the point of having robots worshiping their creator when you could have free minded humans worshiping their creator. I personally would choose the later.
1 John 4:9-10 ESV "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
True love has no conditions: As I age, I get to see how conditional people treat love.
"I wont show you love if you do not do what I want."
"I will love you if you ____fill in the blank___ for me."
I do not know if the majority of people realize that this is not acceptable behavior. If someone loves you, they should love you no matter what you have done. Your past should not interfere with the way someone loves you but not everyone grew up like I did. In my family we did not fixate on what someone did in the past because it is in the past. So now I meet people who put up conditions for everything especially once they find out what my past looks like.
If my past was issue for God, I would not be able to get anywhere near His Kingdom, I would be exiled on first sighting. Thankfully, God's unconditional love is rooted in His grace for us. He recognizes our sins and still gives us His love and grace. If we have declared Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savor, His love and grace is the best gift we could ever receive.
Romans 3:21b-24 ESV "For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus"
I am learning that God gave the best example of true love and it is all within the foundation of the New Testament.