There are people at the fringes of my life who choose not to love me. In fact, they don’t even want to to like me. They would prefer I just go away and stay out of their lives completely and forever. There is nothing I can do to change that. I have tried, even to the extent of asking for love, only to see the folded arms and shaking head that says NO WAY! Their hearts are closed to me. My offering of myself to them is totally rejected.
Today, I experienced the opposite. I phoned my niece to ask a favor. She responded instantly in the affirmative, with such a loving attitude that it brought tears to my eyes. Yet I would not accept the favor unless, and until, her husband agreed as well. I asked that she share my request with him and let me know his thoughts, at a time that was convenient to them.
We had barely ended the call, when my phone rang. This good man, whom I had met only after he entered our family through marriage, responded, “Tell Aunt Carol that I would do anything for her.”
That is the definition of unquestioning love, unconditional acceptance, giving without expecting anything in return.
Later, I mused to Abby, “I wonder what I ever did to warrant such a response from him.” Abby answered, “It doesn’t matter”. She was right. Love like that can not be earned. It is freely given and must be freely accepted. It comes with no strings attached, no pre-conditions, no contracts, no price to be paid. It is indeed the finest gift that one person can give another. Love like that speaks more of the giver’s heart than of the receiver’s.
It is so like the love of God, given beyond measure, overflowing, unearned, and often unanticipated, just there for the accepting and enjoying. God’s love comes with no strings, conditions, contracts, price, no need to prove our value. That is the love that counts.
In Greg’s face, I see the face of Jesus. Thank you, Greg, for the reminder that real love overcomes rejection every time! (For the record, I love you, too). Thank you, God, for the safari saints who go the extra miles to show your love and grace to others along the way. Teach me to love like that, in Jesus’ name.