Sunday, March 6, 2011

Belated Valentine's Day thoughts about love....

This was supposed to be my Valentine’s Day post, and it’s three weeks past Valentine’s Day. It’s never too late to talk about love, though. Duane made this Valentine’s Day card for me, I would guess in about second or third grade. It says “I Love You Mom. To Mom from Duane.” This card is such a treasure. He was, he is, such a treasure. He loved and accepted people just the way they were, and he wanted people to accept him just the way he was.

We sometimes use the word “love” very loosely. I love my mom. I love this dress. I love pizza. I love God. I love the color red. I love lilacs. Seems like we should use different words when we talking about our feelings for things as different as pizza and God. I really like pizza. My favorite color is red. I enjoy the way this dress makes me feel when I wear it. Maybe we should simply reserve the word “love” for people and God. Well, and maybe for our pets.  :-)
There are different kinds of love. Brotherly affection. Best friends. Love of parents for children and children for parents. Love for our family pet. All of our love for people should be unconditional, because God loves us just the way we are.  His love is unconditional. Unfortunately, human love is often conditional. We don’t always accept people just the way they are. Sometimes we think we know how we could improve them. Even with our children, when we as parents are trying to raise them and train them, they need to always know that we love them - no matter what.  They need to know that our love for them is not based on their performance.

Last week at GriefShare, a grief recovery support group that I facilitate, we were talking about how as children, many people heard something like, “God is going to get you if you do such-and-such.” So they grew up with the idea that God was this big being up in the sky who was watching and holding a big stick, just waiting for the opportunity to strike them with it. So every time something bad happened to them later in life, they thought God was punishing them. They think God gave them that sickness because they did something wrong. Or that God caused that accident as a means of punishment. That is so not true.

People sometimes base how they treat us on whether we are perceived as a success or a failure.  With God, it doesn't matter.  He isn’t going to love us any differently. He loves us 100% no matter what. His love never discriminates. I’ve heard it said that you can’t do anything to make Him love you more, and you can’t do anything to make Him love you less. I believe that. He is not always pleased with our choices, and He will convict us about things we need to change, but His love never changes.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.
Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for
today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us
from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 NLT