Today’s devotion builds on the thoughts from Sunday’s Sermon – Week 2 of “Compelled – Living the Value of Unconditional Love” (LISTEN HERE).
Are their boundaries to unconditional love?
The fear in showing unconditional love is that someone will take advantage of that love. In fact, a hypothesis that swirls in my mind is that conditional love comes from being burned by showing unconditional love.
What do I mean? Someone wrongs you and you love them anyway. They wrong you again. You love again. They wrong you again. Done loving unless…
It’s understandable. So are their limits to unconditional love? Here are a few thoughts…
- Unconditional love does have boundaries but not conditions.
The Good Samaritan did not stay at the hotel until the man was able to leave. He offered to reimburse the inn keeper (boundaries), but he didn’t expect anything back from the injured man (unconditional).
Luke 10:35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
- Unconditional love can be rejected without making it conditional.
Matthew 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.
Jesus realized the people he desired to experience his unconditional love pushed it away. He did not force his love on them or force them to love them. His heart wanted the people to experience the unconditional love he brought.
People in our lives can reject our love. It hurts because our heart longs for them to experience that love. While our love is always available, it is not forced upon someone. It hurts when our love is pushed away, but when someone pushes our love away it doesn’t mean we have put conditions on it.
- Unconditional love engenders love not selfishness.
1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
Our response to unconditional love is unconditional love. When a person continues to spurn the love of God, they remove themselves from the blessing of God’s love. This may be the same for our love. Our desire is that showing unconditional love will engender unconditional love in response. When it is spurned, one may be removed from the benefit and blessing of our unconditional love.
- Behavior does not conditionalize unconditional love, but behavior comes in line with unconditional love.
2 Corinthians 5:14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
Christ’s love for us is not conditional on our performance, but our performance is driven by the love we have been shown by Christ. Therefore, our unconditional love affects others in a way that they are also compelled to show unconditional love to others.
So what does that mean in our church culture?
The unconditional love of Christ is to work into our hearts and to spill over into the lives of others. There may be situations where the boundary of love is raised when love is spurned or rejected. However, it is our prayer that Christ’s unconditional love fills our heart and lives and through us is shown to others. When others see the love of Christ in us and among us, it is our prayer that this culture and value of unconditional love becomes engrained and experienced in all of us.
Apply: Ask the Lord to help you see where you can grow in your love and foster the culture of unconditional love in your relationships and in your church.
Prayer: Lord, let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, since as members of one body we were called to peace. In all things, may we be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among us richly as we teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to you Lord with gratitude in our hearts. 17 And whatever we do, whether in word or deed, may we do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. AMEN (adapted from Colossians 3:15-17)