Thursday, January 21, 2010

No Conditions

"The word says God don't give us credit for lovin' the folks we want to love anyway. No, He gives us credit for lovin' the unlovable. The perfect love of God don't come with no conditions."
"the same kinda different as me"
Ron Hall and Denver Moore

I read these words this morning and something like conviction took place as they bounced around in my head and finally settled into my heart. I would like to think that I love unconditionally. I would like to think that when someone I love offends me or hurts my feelings or even takes an action that is outside the realm of what I typically deem "acceptable", I go on loving that person. I accept their shortcomings because I try, most of the time, to keep my own less than perfect moments ever before me. I consider that to be the stuff of unconditional love. The ability to love someone, even when they let you down.

Reading this book though, I realize that the kind of unconditional love Denver recieved is something entirely different. You see, it's easy to love someone enough to forebear their transgressions, to look over their failures, or to see past their shortcomings. You do that based on history. You love a person long enough and there's really not much they could do to destroy your connection with them. And I suppose, that is a sort of unconditional love. It's the way we love our families, our friends, espeically our children. But what about the people we don't have history with? How often do we love them unconditonally?

I don't know about you but I tend to size a person up upon meeting them. I label them. She's a nice dresser. He 's nice. She's friendly. I compile a subconscious list of things I observe as I spend time with a person and at some point, usually decide I might like to spend more time with them and eventually pursue a friendship on some level. Sometimes I'm not all that attracted to what I observe. He isn't very friendly. She seems snotty. He isn't very deep. These people I tend to pass over. I'm not usually rude to them, but I write them off rather quickly and don't pursue any further contact.

There was a time in my life when loving the unlovable came easy. I had less pressures. Less time contraints. Less distractions. These days it seems I'm always running somewhere, attending something, working on something. I rarely have time to meet new people, let alone puruse a relationship with someone who seems unlovable.

I may not often find myself in a soup kitchen or at a homeless shelter, but reading that quote from Denver this morning made me realize that not all of the unconditional loving in the world takes place in the missions, or shelters or kitchens. Alot of the unconditional loving that needs to be done can happen right where I already exsist. The bleachers, the work room, the car pools and the grocery lines; these are places filled with people who need to feel unconditional love. But as I choose who to sit by or stand by, or work by, I need to do that without any sort of sizing up taking place. Because the unconditional part doesn't happen after there's a shared history. The unconditional part happens at first glance. It's reaching out in love to someone I wouldn't "want to love anyway", and offering them my heart.

Someone loved Denver like that. They loved him at first sight even when what they saw seemed unlovable and for Denver it made all the difference in the world.

I want to love like that. I want to love uncondionally....the way I now understand it...the very way I have been loved. I want to love... like that.


patty said...

It's like you were listening in to a conversation I've been having with Josh over the last several days...Loving the people who have NOTHING to offer you...not even the pleasure of being in their company. In fact, their company often deprives you of pleasure (if that makes sense). But loving, really loving them, beyond compassion or mercy or tolerance.

by the write so beautifully...:)

Karen said...

This was a beautiful post. I have thought about reading that book. Is it a good one?

Thank you for encouraging me today with your sweet comment and the beautiful poem. I am so sorry about your loss. Thank you for your testimony. It ministered to me today.

Karen said...

Back again...I just reread the poem and realized you wrote it. Oh, my heart was encouraged! I have often thought it was so unfair that Rebekah did not live, that I did not get to know her...but then I am reminded that it was also unfair that God sent His Son to die for me. But because of that sacrifice, I will see Rebekah again praising the One who choose me to carry her on the earth.
Thank you for your poem that put into words what my heart was already beginning to "work out."

Deborah Ann said...

You're so right on. I think a lot of people are judging others without even knowing it. Tossing people aside like we're examining fruit at a fruit stand. Some are bruised or wrinkly and we skim right past them. I'm so glad I stopped in here today. I needed to hear this.