Thursday, December 12, 2013

Parenting: Unconditional Love

Sometimes being a parent is a difficult job.  We have these little lives and minds we are to train, teach, love, cultivate, and be the example for living in adulthood. As Christians, it can sometimes be even harder to raise and teach our children the right and proper path for life.  We have to teach them how to choose life and not death (Deut 30:19).  At the same time, we are examples of God's love and grace for all of us to them. 
I know that as a parent, I love my children unconditionally.  There is nothing that any one of them can do that would ever make me love them less, nor would I ever withhold my love from them because of mistakes.  I have two adult children.  I do not always agree with their decisions, but they are their decisions to make.  Even though I don't agree with all of the decisions they make, I still love them.  I always will.  Their mistakes don't prevent me from loving them and it doesn't prevent me from dispensing grace and mercy to them when they do mess up.  Or just doing something for them because I love them.  I have two teenagers that are still learning how to be young adults among a world that is no longer tolerant of their faith and beliefs.  They make mistakes, but we use them as teaching opportunities. 
I am not perfect and make mistakes as a parent.  I have had to apologize to my children for things I have said to them, the tone of voice I have used, the frustration I have shown at times.  It is a humbling experience to give your child an apology. 
 God's love is like the love we as parents feel for our children.  He loves us unconditionally.  There is nothing we can do to earn it.  It is ours.  His love for us is not based on what we do.  It   He does not take His love away from us when we make mistakes.  There are so many examples of God's love for us in the Bible.  Probably the most well known is the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  (Luke 15:11-24)
In this parable, we see the love of a father over the return of a prodigal child. His son had been gone living in sin and filth, but returned home with a heart of repentance.  The father gave his best to his son.  The best robe, shoes on his feet, and prepared a celebration and a feast with the fatted calf of his herd.  The father rejoiced only over the return of his son.  "My son was dead and is now alive again; lost, and is now found!"  The father did not dwell on the son's mistake.  The father did not relive the squandering of his inheritance.   The father only received his son with unconditional love and joy.
In the same chapter of Luke, Jesus also talks about the shepherd that loses one sheep from a flock of 100.  The shepherd will leave the flock of 99 to find the one missing sheep.  The Father's love for us is the same.  God, the Father, sent His Son to lay down His life for us...His creation. (John 3:16)  
As parents, we are the earthly example to our children of the love of God.  We are to love them unconditionally.  We are to never make giving them our love dependent on their actions.  We show grace to cover mistakes when necessary.  We do not dwell on what has happened in the past.  We remind them on a daily basis that God's love is even more perfect for them than ours ever can be.
If you are reading this and you are not a believer in the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for you, please take all I have said here into consideration.  Regardless of everything else in your life, you have a Father that loves you matter what.  Please accept His love for you and let Him heal hurts, and anger, scars and wounds.  Let Him be your Father...your Protector...your Comforter...the One you cry to.  He loves you.  He adores you.  His love for you is perfect.  He will never take it away and He will never abandon you.  He will always walk with you.  He will always be with you.

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