Unconditional Love

Read: Galatians 5:12-14

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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:34-36

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I read something earlier about love. A man wanted to know if the statement he had heard from a companion declaring she was “in love” because her man had a “great sense of humor” could possibly be “real” love . . . I can’t begin to guess what’s in the heart of another but those words speak of conditional love and as he considered whether his companion might suddenly fall “out of love” if her man’s sense of humor should change, I could understand his concern.

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Since I don’t know any of the people in that love story it quickly slipped my mind. Then I read a book which spoke of another kind of love. It made me stop, think, and smile. I realized something I’d never really thought of before, or at least not in the way I suddenly realized. A writer spoke of a quote from the third chapter of Matthew’s gospel where God speaks of Jesus saying “my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” I have heard this many times. It has always sounded like a father proud of the accomplishments of his son. Taken out of context, that is surely true. This time I realized something I should have seen all along.

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For in the fifth chapter of that same gospel, while alone and praying and fasting, the Lord is tempted by Satan. Satan urges Him to turn stone into bread and offers all sorts of tempting chances to improve His current circumstances. Our Lord was 30 hears old at the time of this temptation, prayer, and fasting, and was preparing to begin his ministry. That’s when it hit me.

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When God spoke of His beloved Son with such love and pride, that love was truly and totally unconditional. Jesus had not yet begun His ministry. We have every reason to believe He lived a reasonably typical life for the culture of that day. Obeying His Mother and His earthly father, helping out in the carpentry shop. The love that His heavenly Father professed was completely unconditional. This speaks loudly to all of us. It sure did to me.

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As we wrestle through our life on earth, we are often uncertain and are faced with judgement constantly. All about us challenge us in good ways and not so good. We hear “I love you” so often but the words so many times should have also said “I love you if you do this” or “I love you when you do that.” We feel, whether we admit it or not, that we need to earn love, need to deserve it, and often that we fall short. These feelings hold us back. We, I believe, consciously or unconsciously accept God’s love assuming the same conditions apply. But they do not. When He declared His love as quoted in Matthew’s gospel, He meant it not just for Jesus, but for each one of us. He loves us without restraint and without a list of conditions which we must meet to receive it. How very blessed are we?

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PRAYER: I love you Lord. Help me to love others as you love me. Help me to forgive others as you have forgiven me. Instill in me your compassion for all living creatures. Amen.

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