[Part 2 of 7 – Tough Love]
What have you done to earn my unconditional love?
This is the question we unknowingly ask those who are not believers in Christianity. At some point, we decide that only other Christians deserve love, forgiveness, trust, etc. Anyone else is the enemy.
If you’re not for us, you’re against us, right?
Unconditional love is a strange concept to man. In fact, it is one that I dare say no one will ever be able to accomplish with anybody. Even within our own families.
Sure, you say that you love your son and that it is an unconditional love, but when he moves back home, steals money from you, overdoses on heroin, then sticks you with the hospital bill because he can’t keep a job… well, you tend to trust him less and less. You tend to stop forgiving him. You still love him, but unconditional love is so much more than just a warm spot in your heart that will not cool.
You see, God is the only one who can truly give unconditional love. He is not cursed with human emotions. He loves each and every one of us, forgives us the moment we ask, trusts us enough with everything to have given it all to us to oversee. It doesn’t matter how many times we hit rock bottom, it doesn’t matter how many promises to change we’ve broken, it doesn’t matter if we’ve destroyed our lives, God still loves us, forgives us, and trusts us.
He’s still ready to pour his grace on you.
Notice, I said “you.” I don’t just mean “you, Mr. Christian.” I mean “you, and you, and you, and you, and everybody else. Ever.”
So, why do we, as Christians, tend to act like these things are privileges for Christians only? Is it because only the saved get God’s favor? Well, yes. I think that is why most Christians will love other Christians, but come up lacking with unbelievers.
Though we would never say it out loud, our actions say to the unbeliever, “Well, you haven’t sacrificed anything. You never accepted Christ as your Savior. Why should I treat you as my equal?”
That is the wrong attitude.
We are called to love everyone. And not just because it’s a good witness to the unsaved. We should not love others expecting something in return, such as their salvation, or even a thank you. You should only love.
For example, a few years ago, a Baptist church attended an Insane Clown Posse concert. Thousands of kids with their faces painted with evil clown designs. The crowds at these types of concerts are notorious for unrepentant bad behavior.
A Baptist church showed up to cook hamburgers and give them away for free to the fans of ICP (called juggalos). They did not preach at them, did not pass out tracts, no, they just loved these kids.
One of the Baptists said that she saw the faces of these kids soften behind the evil clown paint. “You can tell these are good kids,” she said.
That is unconditional love.
People we would typically judge by appearance as no-good, ungodly troublemakers, these people refused to judge and chose to simply love and serve these juggalos.
You see, what I’m saying is that if we tend to love one group of people more than another, it is the unsaved we should love more. It is the unbelievers that should be receiving our love, forgiveness, and trust.
In Luke, Jesus tells us of the lost sheep. A shepherd is watching over 100 sheep, but notices one has gone missing.
The shepherd could have just stayed with his 99, satisfied that he still had all of them. But instead, he left the 99 found sheep to search for the lost one.
The lost sheep is not you.
When you became a Christian, you joined the 99 found sheep.
The lost sheep is the unbeliever. God knows He has you, knows that you are safe within His care, but there is a sheep out there that is all alone. That is the sheep God is focused on.
Maybe we should get off of our fluffy butts and help.