As Christians, many of us have been taught to love people with the love of God; that means unconditionally. Loving people with agape love is to love them regardless of anything they do; our love for people is not contingent on them at all but on what God has already done.
We love because God first loved us. We love people through everything because God loved us while we were yet sinners and will never stop loving us. Romans 8:38-39 says it beautifully: For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
That is wonderful; the scripture is very empowering and comforting. Nothing will ever separate us from the love of our Father in Heaven.
So this is how we are supposed to love our brethren. Unconditionally. Someone said to me a few days ago, “it’s not even our love that we love people with, so it doesn’t make sense when people get mad that others don’t receive their love because it was never theirs to begin with.”
I thought about it. Honestly, I know that I am someone who gets upset when people don’t receive my love. Scratch that. I get upset when people don’t reciprocate my love. I know that this may not be the “Christian thing” to say or do, but it’s my truth. Sometimes, I do want people to overtly love me back. Sometimes I want people to pursue me like I pursue them. Sometimes, I want to know that my presence makes a difference, and that I matter.
But that’s not scriptural.
The scriptures say that love is not self-seeking and it is patient. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.
True love is persistent and it does not fade away. True love does not quit because it is not reciprocated. True love does not disappear when the person being loved doesn’t want it. True love does not run out when the distance between the lover and the person being loved is far. True love does not end when trust is betrayed. True love does not stop when relationship stops.
I think that last one is the hardest one for me to swallow, because I feel relationships ending in my life, but the love is still there. I am teary-eyed writing this, realizing that it is a reality that I may not be close to people that I once was and that just has to be okay.
There is no, “but if you love me we will stay friends”, because that is not what love is.
We don’t always have a relationship with God, but He always loves us.
We don’t always talk to God, but He always loves us.
We don’t always consider what God would want, but He still loves us.
We don’t always make God a priority, but He still loves us.
We don’t always tell God we love him, but He still loves us.
We don’t always include God in our plans, but He still loves us.
Loving people is the hardest and easiest part of my life. It does not take much for me to love you, but there always comes the challenging point when people stop loving me, or stop showing that they love me, and then I still have to love them.
Pray for me as I continue to navigate this.