Unconditional Love

Stella2

I wanted to write today as writing has become my therapy.  I have been very sad the past 2 days because my precious Aunt Sara passed away.  She was 93 years young and I know she lived a good Christian life, but the pain of loss still hurts my heart.  Hearing my Father cry as we spoke on the phone yesterday really has broken me to my core.  My Father is my rock and the best Christian role model of my life.  So I have a lot on my mind today and it all centers around LOVE.

The picture above is my sweet grand-doggie Stella.  She has come to stay with me for several days as my daughter and her boyfriend have flown off to “The Hamptons”.  Yes – the “Real” Hamptons.  I guess even a tiny little southern girl can make a big splash.  As I am looking at my sweet Stella, I think about how she loves me unconditionally.  She doesn’t care what I say or do.  She just always looks at me with loving eyes of acceptance.  I realized today “Why can’t we all be this way too?” and “Why is everything so hard when it comes to relationships?” My son was the first one to tell me to “Get Out of my own Head!” one day as I was over thinking something.  I know he meant it in a helpful way but of course I took it harshly.  I had never been told that before (that is what happens when your children become adults).  In the end, he was right (I even told him).  I was over thinking the situation and letting my mind take me to a place that was doing me no good at all.  I have sense tried to learn to pace myself and not to let everything I see or hear create an immediate reaction.  There are always two sides to every issue.  I realize now looking back on my life all the unnecessary immediate reactions I created which only caused me more problems.

As I have gotten older and much more wiser, I see now the happiness I could have had if I would have loved more unconditionally.  I never meant to put conditions on anyone in my life – especially the people I love,  I guess it just sort of happens even when we don’t mean for it to.  We expect people to act a certain way or believe a certain way and when they don’t we get upset and close off believing that everyone has to act or believe the way we do or they are wrong.  This is not true.  We need to learn to be more understanding and more open to discussion and be calm!  There is no need to get upset about something you can’t control.  Most times, there are two or more ways to work it out.  We need to work together to figure things out so it is a Win-Win for everyone.  As a Realtor, one of the first things I was taught is when you leave the closing table both sides should feel like they have won something.  Both sides need to walk away feeling like a winner.  I try very hard to make sure this happens every time because I want them both to leave happy – even if I just represent one side of the transaction I want them to feel important.  We would not be at the closing table if we had not worked together as a team to make it happen.  This needs to be true in life also.

I had promised myself I would not get into politics on my blog so I will keep that promise now.  What I want to get into is why can we not learn to love unconditionally? Why are we so judgmental?  Not every one is just like me.  Not every one believes what I believe.  Not every one was raised like me etc.  What I do know is that might be a good thing.  I attend a church in Mount Pleasant called Seacoast Church.  I had the honor of being a greeter at church last Sunday.  As I stood at the door and handed out the programs for the service, I began to pay attention to the diversity of people coming into the church.  I felt a huge sense of thankfulness for being able to stand and welcome all people – all races – into our church.  I love them all.  Seeing all people and all races worshiping Jesus filled my heart to show me we are all alike.  Maybe not outside of this church and maybe not in race but for a brief few hours we were all alike.  This was enough to remind me to love unconditionally as God has loved me.  I was raised in a typical Southern Baptist Church – all white congregation back in my hometown.  I never thought much about it.  White people went to a white church and black people went to a black church.  It was just the way it was but being a part of a diverse church such as Seacoast I can no longer go back to an all white church.  I think a lot of the reason there are still segregated churches of this type today is because they are old school.  After experiencing what I see every Sunday, it makes me long even more for a world of love and compassion.  No matter the color of our skin we are all one in the eyes of God our creator.

What has happened in Charlottesville, VA has broken my heart.  What has happened and is happening around the world is breaking my heart too.  How do WE stop it?  How do we CHANGE the narrative of the hatred that is being spread?  Our country is becoming a war zone within itself.  No one cares about the other person.  The violence is out of control.  People are losing their lives for no reason at all and at the hands of people who are non-believers in God because if they were believers they would not act this way.  I can’t imagine being the mother of the precious girl who died knowing my child was killed out of hatred toward another person.  We have got to wake up and realize hate can not win.  No one filled with hate will ever win.  We are destroying ourselves with hatred and violence to prove nothing.  We think we can change a person’s mind by forcing them to believe or agree with what we think but we can’t.  I know the saying Reach Out In Love sounds crazy.  There are some people you can’t reach out to in love because they might hurt or kill you.  These are the ones who need our prayers most.  We need to learn to lead by example.  Who is your example of showing love?  I hope you have someone who has shown you unconditional love during your life time.  If not, I pray you reach out to a church.  There is someone there waiting to reach out to you and show you compassion and love.  Forgiveness is one of the greatest forms on unconditional love.

How can you incorporate love into your daily life while showing people you stand for your beliefs but in a loving respectful way.  Maybe it is something as easy as keeping an open mind.  Not being too quick to judge.  Do you think it was easy for Jesus to gain followers at first?  I highly doubt it.  He walked a world filled anger and hatred (much like what we are facing today)_to spread love and the message of eternal life.  We must follow in his example.  I know you are thinking if things were so wonderful why was he hung on a cross to die by his enemies?  Nothing is easy.  God does not promise us easy so this journey of learning to live in unconditional love will not be easy for you.  God chose to die on the cross to show the depth of his love so that we might have life everlasting. Be thankful he did this for you.  He chose unconditional love to try and bring people to God for his grace and mercy he shows on us daily.  We are all sinners finding our way through this world one day at a time.  I know some people are unlovable.  I started to name these hate groups that have been on the news but after typing them all out, I felt it best to leave their titles out of my blog as not to draw attention to the fact I even care about them.  I am not going to give them one line in my blog because my post is about giving love and giving it unconditionally.  What I care about is you.

As a christian, I know what the Bible teaches me, and I know God says love others the way I have loved you.  He didn’t say based on color, or race, or religion, etc.  He said love one another the way I have loved you.  We tend to forget this when we get all up in our own heads.  We build up crazy beliefs to justify our hurt and pain and then we look for someone to take it out on even if it is just starting an argument in our own family.  There is a hurt somewhere that needs to be understood so it can be healed.  If I remember correctly, I was 2 years old when segregation ended in 1964.  My first friend in school was a black girl named Mary Louise Clark.  We are still friends on Facebook to this day.  Another friend I have held dear is a black man whom I worked for many years ago during my secretary days.  His name is Melvin Henry.  He was my boss and we became friends at work.  We talked about race relations a lot during short lunches.  We agreed both sides need to do a better job at over coming the past.  Melvin allowed me to go back to college during my normally work schedule to earn my Bachelors Degree.  I am thankful every day for his friendship because graduating college would not have been a possibility if he had not allowed me to miss work to go to class.  We looked past race and saw the person.  Maybe if we give each other a chance, we could all see the person and not the race.  We can not change the past but we can change the future.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his famous speech, I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.  I dream this too and move forward in unconditional love.  I hope you will move forward with me.  I end with two quotes  – Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better ~ and ~ Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet ~ both by Maya Angelou.

There are over 30 verses in the Bible about love.  I posted a few at the end of this blog because I want you to always know you have a reference for LOVE – quotes taken from http://www.OpenBible,info – Be Blessed!

John 13:34 ESV / 

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

1 John 4:19-21 ESV / 

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

 

Matthew 5:43-48 ESV /

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? …

1 John 4:10-11 ESV / 

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Proverbs 10:12 ESV / 

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV / 

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Peter 4:8-9 ESV /  

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

1 John 4:18 ESV /  

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

John 3:16 ESV /  

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Matthew 22:37 ESV /  

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

1 John 4:7-8 ESV /  

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Matthew 22:39 ESV / 

And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Romans 8:28 ESV /  

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 13:9 ESV /  

For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Luke 6:31 ESV /  

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

John 13:35 ESV / 

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

1 Peter 2:17 ESV /  

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Galatians 5:14 ESV / 

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

Romans 12:10 ESV /  

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

1 Peter 4:8 ESV /  

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

John 15:13 ESV / 

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:12 ESV /  

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

1 Thessalonians 5:15 ESV /  

See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV / 

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

John 13:34-35 ESV /  

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

1 John 4:7 ESV /  

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

 

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