Friday, March 23

When You Stink at Unconditional Love

"I hate him. I just can't do it anymore."

Heartbroken words were whispered as a tearful prayer to God in one of my darkest moments as a mom over two years ago.

Of course I didn't mean it. I didn't hate my son. I don't hate my son. I love him and want so badly to see him succeed and for me to step out of the way and allow Christ to heal his wounded places without my offense at his sin tripping him up.

Unconditional love. That's what I really needed to show him. Not hatred or bitterness.

Obviously God knew I needed some major help in this area, because these past few years have pushed me to places I never wanted to go. Places that have hurt more than anything I've ever experienced and left me turned completely inside out.

I believe with my whole heart God wanted me to be twisted and stretched to an almost unrecognizable state so He could reform me. So He could resurrect me. So He could sit in His rightful place on the throne of my heart.

I cannot control my people, but I can love them.

But the problem is that I'm not God and I don't know how to love like Him. But I'm learning. I'm growing.

I'm seeing my own sin for what it is and I'm seeing how God deals with me and it's vastly different than how I naturally want to deal with the people who hurt or sin against me.

In my natural state, I want those who make me hurt feel the weight of their choice and hurt in return. In my natural state, I hate the idea of someone "getting away" with what they've done. I want it to crush them like it crushed me.

It's not pretty, but that's where my heart gravitates without the gospel.

In that moment when I cried out to God with my honest feelings about my son, I wasn't just mad at him.

I despised who I'd become as a person.

I was hunched low with burden. I was critical and cynical about the future. I felt completely hopeless and went through the daily motions of living without really living.

Fearful of a total loss of control, I grasped at anything that might help me gain control again.

But nothing worked. And nothing will ever work unless I operate in God's love.

He sees my sin and loves me anyways.

And not just that, He saw my sin and sent Jesus to die for me anyways.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:8
Did you get that? While we were STILL sinners. He showed the most love He could possibly ever show.

He didn't wait until we died and faced the punishment we deserved to do the amazing thing. He showed grace to us while we were still stuck hard and cold in our sin.

Stinking at unconditional love has taught me so much more about God's love for me and for all mankind than I ever would have learned apart from this struggle. And for that, I say thank you to Him.

I don't know where you stand on this issue and the degree of your own struggle, but I do know that as of now, it's a daily wrestling for me. Maybe one day I'll more naturally jump right to grace instead of condemnation. I pray that becomes my reality.

But for now, I'll continually place the remembrance of the cross before me as I reach out with His love.

2 comments on "When You Stink at Unconditional Love"
  1. I totally get this, and I am walking the same path of learning to love like Jesus loves, regardless of my emotions. The thing that totally trips me up, is HOW to lavish love and grace and forgiveness, and STILL train and provide consequences. It's so hard. WHAT does that even look like?!

    1. I know. That's my biggest parenting dilemma. I'm with you!!


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