Devotion #145

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.

1 John 4:7-8 ESV

God loves us unconditionally. There is nothing we can do to earn His love, and we certainly don’t deserve it. We cannot make Him love us more through our good deeds or service, and we cannot make Him love us less by turning our back on Him or committing sins. His love is deep and far and wide. It’s never-ending. No matter what we do or say, He loves us exactly the same. When we were far from Him, when we were the worst version of ourselves, God’s love for us never waned. He chased after us, despite our refusal to love Him back, despite our lack of respect, despite the way we neglect our relationship with Him or prioritize other things over Him. His love never depends on whether or not we deserve it. He never turns His back on us when He’s frustrated with us, He never mocks us when we’ve made a mistake, He never refuses to forgive us when we’ve sinned against Him. His love is unwavering and unconditional.

Our love is conditional. When our spouses fail to meet our expectations, when they don’t behave in a manner we consider to be loving, when they hurt us or don’t protect us, when they speak to us in anger or they gossip to others about us, when they don’t seem to care about our pain, when they put their own needs before ours, we withhold our love. Sometimes we launch an angry attack back, throwing nasty and hurtful words at them. Sometimes we give them the silent treatment, refusing to show them any love at all. Sometimes we cut them off from our lives entirely, removing any hope of restoration. The love we show largely depends on whether or not they deserve it. Our love is conditional on our spouse meeting our expectations.

If we are to love as God loves us, we need to love our spouses unconditionally. We need to love them without any expectation of return and whether or not they deserve it. I’ve learned that as I spend time in His presence, and I open my heart to Him, I am able to receive more and more of His love. As I receive more of His love, I am able to give more love unconditionally. I still get hurt and lash out or retreat, but as He gives me eyes to see His perspective and a heart to love as He does, I am much quicker to forgive and repent for my failure to love as He does. My heart wants to give my love unconditionally, but I know the only way to do that is to allow His love to fill me.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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