Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:7-8).
God created us to live in an environment of unconditional love. God’s original plan was that husbands and wives bear children, and then raise them in an atmosphere of unconditional, self-sacrificial love. That’s God’s best, but because of the fall of man, we often fail to receive the nurturing love that will balance us out spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and socially.
If parents are raised in a non-love nurturing home, then they will most likely infect their children with the same kind of neglect of love that was modeled to them when they were young. And the cycle goes on and on for generations.
We humans have a God-given need to be loved. It’s basic to who we are. And if we don’t receive this nurturing love as children, it produces a love deficit that can affect us lifelong.
People looking for love live lives of fear of letting people know them well and of a fear of others. Without parental nurturing love, this common belief fills the human psyche: Those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished.
Children are born needing an environment that shows them, even if you fail, I still love you. That is the way the Father treats us in Christ. He loves us no matter what we do. No, He doesn’t condone wrongdoing, but He nevertheless loves us and woos us to Jesus’ cleansing blood when we sin. If we’re shown love as children only when we succeed, then it promotes a fear we must perform to be accepted, and causes us to hide who we really are from others.
When Adam and Eve failed in the garden, they hid themselves from God and from one another. Like them, we often box ourselves in with a roof, so to speak, to keep God out, and walls of defense erected to keep others out if we fear that exposure of ourselves will bring rejection.
The Greek word for God’s love is Agape. Agape love is love that is unconditional and self-sacrificial. And this is the love that we are to show to each other. When we love with agape, we don’t require others to perform to our standards before we love them. We love them just as they are, unconditionally, because that is the way God loves us. Agape love is self-sacrificial, and puts its own needs last and puts others first.
This agape is to rule us who are in the family of God and is to be a sign to the world that we are different. If you’ve been raised with criticism, harshness, and conditional love, then the family of God is the place to come to be loved with and unselfish, undemanding love.
Most people live fear based lives. There is no fear in real love that is based on God’s character. Genuine love brings personal freedom and an ability to open up to others. In the presence of genuine agape love, there is no personal fear that others will reject you. When a person loves you with agape love, you will no longer feel the need to hide yourself and how you really think from them.
Come with me on this journey to live a love based life that treats others in an unconditional, self-sacrificial way. It’s the way of the Father.
Here’s a good passage to meditate on to help develop that unconditional love in our lives:
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – Amplified Bible:
Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. (5) It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. (6) It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. (7) Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].