Conditional Love is Ridiculous


Last night, I was putting my girls to bed and letting them choose a bed-time story. My Middle went for her Beginner’s Bible and flipped it open to the first story. So we dove right in. We read about God creating Adam and Eve and how that Sneaky Snake tricked Eve into eating from the forbidden tree. The parent cue prompted me to ask her to list a “no-no” in our house. She did and we read on. The next story described how life had changed for Adam and Eve post fruit-eating. Their labor was hard to provide themselves with food, but God still loved them and was with them. The parent prompt that followed was about how when our kids mess up, we as parents still love them and that God feels that way about us. I took a pause and looked my Middle straight in the eye and said, “When you do a “no-no” in this house  do Mommy and Daddy still love you?”

She thoughtfully paused and with a cheeky smile said, “YYYeeeesssss.”

To which I gave her a look that clearly communicated that I was joking and yelled, “NO!”

She burst out laughing. She fell back on the bed and gave the best four-year old chuckle ever! She has a great giggle and I can always tell when it is real or fake and this was 100% real. She asked me to do it again and again. We repeated this a few times and broke into giggles and tickles and other silliness. Then, I looked her in the eye and told her about 7 different things that are wonderful about her. I also told her that nothing she does could make me love her more or less. I loved her because of who she is, not what she does.

After bedtime I was reflecting on our antics. Holy Spirit highlighted the reaction my Middle had to me saying NO, I wouldn’t love her if she broke a rule in my house. It was ridiculous! So ridiculous that the idea made her burst out in laughter. Now maybe that is not what made her laugh, but what if it was? What if we were creating a culture in our households that the idea of Mom and Dad having conditional love for their kids was ridiculous? And what if our kids knew this fact from a young age? How would our lives be different?

See, God does love us unconditionally. He can’t love us any more or any less than he does right now–than he ever did. He can’t erase the feelings he has had for you from the moment the universe was created. You make choices and those choices come with consequences, but his love doesn’t get thrown in with the details. It floats above those things. It is constant. Our ability to receive it and embrace the unwavering force of it is what determines how much we get to feel.

One of the themes that has been coming to me through prayer, scripture, and sermons is the discipline we must pursue of embracing God’s love for us. We also must love others through the lens of God’s love. They go hand in hand. The more we learn how God love us, the more we can begin to see how we can access that supernatural ability and love others above world circumstances. I am inclined to believe that we must press into learning and embracing God’s love for us before we can love others in supernatural ways. How does that begin? One of the ways that comes to mind is that when we hear a voice say anything that contradicts God’s unwavering love for us, we simply laugh right in the face of the lie. Don’t let it set up camp in your mind, bust out laughing at the ridiculous thought that God’s love for us is in danger because of something we did…or didn’t do. This laughter will silence the enemy and release joy into the atmosphere. Joy is always good. Joy is the lacy trim of God’s love.

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