Sunday, April 29, 2012

Unconditional Love!

I will love them freely ... (Hosea 14:4 NKJV).

Unconditional love! Sounds great, doesn’t it? To love in spite of instead of spite ... Unconditional! Who can do this? How can I love this person who has ripped my heart into tiny bits of hate and resentment? Oh yes, I read and reread that lovely passage from 1 Corinthians 13 when I feel the anger and hate welling up. I have even made a poster out of the NIV version of Verse 5: "[Love] keeps no record of wrongs" to keep me from dredging out the old woe-is-me’s in times of anger.

Imagine my surprise when I finally discovered--with our Good Shepherd's prodding and in spite of my plodding--that this is a choice we make. Indeed, we can decide to be pleasant or unpleasant when we wake in the morning. It's the old as-if principle: I'll act as if I truly love this person, and before I know it, I do! It sneaks up on us, thank God.

Years ago I read the following: "I love you today, where you are and as you are. You do not have to be anything but what you are for me to love you. I love you now; not sometime when you are worthy, but today when you may need love most. I will not withhold my love, or withdraw it. There are no strings on my love, no price. I will not force it upon you when you are not ready. It is just there, freely offered, with both hands. Take what you want today. The more you take, the more there is. It is good if you can return love; but if you cannot today, that is all right too. Love is its own joy. Bless me by letting me love you today" (Author Unknown). Wonderful!

There it is, unconditional, no strings attached, I love you as Jesus loves you. I love you because God first loved me. He loved me enough to forgive my sins, so how can I do less for you? Forgive me for not loving you! Forgive me for the wasted words and years when I could have held and upheld you and made both our lives easier. Love is so much easier, really. I mean the love that wants what is best for you and will help you with your life.

I quote:
I will love them freely.
God’s promise of forgiveness: We observe God’s acknowledgment or consideration of all the three points embraced in the supplication of the truly penitent. God healeth in four different ways, and each mode embraces all the others.
1. By a gracious pardon.
2. By a spiritual and effectual reformation, by enabling us to walk in newness of life, by making us holy, even as He is holy.
3. By removing judgments which sin brought upon the sufferer, whether nationally or individually.
4. By comforting. This mode of restoring health to the soul is one of Christ’s principal works. The Lord is very minute and distinct in marking every article in the penitent’s prayer. Ephraim not only besought mercy to have all his iniquity taken away, but also that He who took away all sin, should, at the same time, receive good gifts in his behalf. Jehovah, accordingly, does not only promise, “I will heal their backsliding,” but proceeds to say moreover, “I will love them freely.” This is the fundamental principle of Gospel truth. Ephraim gave a reason for his entire dependence, henceforth and for ever, upon the Lord, which was, “For in Thee the fatherless findeth mercy.” We can do nothing on our part to obtain the mercy vouchsafed unto us; for God said, “I will love them freely.” It is out of man’s power to deserve God’s love. Another consideration must be borne in mind, not to incur God’s wrath again. (Moses Margoliouth, B. A.)

Now excuse me while I go bury the old heart at the foot of the Cross ...

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