“Show us Your faithful love, Lord, and give us Your salvation.”
Love and Strings
“How many times have I told you?”
“Why should I believe you when you’ve said the same thing before?”
“Don’t you remember how nice I was to you today? And then you do THIS?”
“I’m DONE! I mean it. This is it. I can’t take anymore.”
I’ve said these words.
I’ve said them so many times I couldn’t begin to keep track of their frequency, much less their effectiveness. For all their use, you might assume that they must do the job. Those searing sentences must cut their recipients to the quick, poking them right in the conscience, right in the deepest part of their hearts. Clearly my word-arrows strike their targets and initiate repentance and change.
Right? Because if I keep saying these things, it must be because doing so accomplishes something important.
Not so much.
Over the past few years, I’ve realized that I am guilty of loving conditionally.
As my daughter has grown older and my marriage has grown stronger, I’ve been forced to face head on some of the challenges I bring to my most dear relationships — and one of the biggest is the ball of strings I have tied to my love.
Looking in the mirror is hard, friends. It’s hard when my jeans are tight or my face is broken out, and it’s hard when my sin nature is shining bright through the cracks. It’s hard when I see the expectations I place on people I call beloved, when I see the score sheet I keep against the very people on my team, and it’s hard when I realize how far short my love falls from the love our Father gives us so freely.
In Psalm 85 the author is begging God for forgiveness, for another chance, for one more redemption story. He’s remembering all the times God has forgiven His people completely, and he’s believing that God will do it once again. And He will. He promises that — and our God is faithful, just as the psalmist says.
He will forgive us every time, and no matter what, He will love us with an unfailing love.
No strings attached.
Today I am thankful for God’s faithful love and the example He gives us in loving unconditionally. When I read through the Old Testament and into the Psalms, I can’t help shake my head at the Israelites. Those fickle, faithless Israelites . . . who . . . just might have more in common with me than I want to admit. Yet God never shakes His head at me. He never shouts in exasperation, “How many times have I told you?” and He never, ever says, “I’m done.”
Thank you, God, for your faithful love. Teach me to love faithfully, too.
Are you placing strings on your love? Who do you need to offer grace or forgiveness?
Do you need to accept God’s faithful love? It’s right here for you, no strings attached.
Pearl @ Look Up Sometimes says
Thank you, Mary. Wow, could I identify! As much as the mirror hurts, I’m grateful because it causes me to look up sometimes…from myself to His faithful love. Thank you for your beautiful reminder! Maybe the best part about being so needy (human) is that we can’t give what we don’t have; we’re “forced” to receive the blessings of His faithful love before we can share them.
Pearl, I have heard it said in a Peanuts cartoon that the secret of life is to look up! 🙂 Thank you for that lovely reminder 🙂
Please forgive me if I am not understanding, but I have a different view of receiving to give. Please help me to understand if I am not understanding you.
I have learned that the saying that we can’t give what we don’t have is a subtle twisting of truth as it focuses on us and what we have, not what the Lord has for the Lord always is ready to lavish His love on us, filling us to fuller measure as we come to know and trust Him in deep relationship (Eph 3:17-21, Rom 15:13). He never forces this on us, to force us or for us to force ourselves leads to resentment and isn’t love. Being open and vulnerable with Him in trust and total commitment, open to His filling that we may give out of His generous love for us, pouring where He leads us, begins with humility, spiritual poverty i.e. needy, and knowing Him.
May the Lord bless you, Pearl, so greatly in His joy today 🙂
Pearl @ Look Up Sometimes says
An, I appreciate your heart, your love of truth, and your gracious clarification. I believe we are on the same page, believing the same thing.
In an effort to be brief, I apparently misrepresented what I intended. I’ve never heard what you shared about the subtle twisting of truth in the statement “we can’t give what we don’t have,” but I appreciate where you’re coming from. Thank you for this new perspective!
My intent was to move the attention from our lack to Christ’s sufficiency. It is all him, only him, all the time that saves us and does good in/through us. We are free to search anywhere, but ultimately He is the only answer. (Hence force in quotes, which I now see wasn’t the best way to convey this meaning.) My apologies for giving any impression other than Christ is our all in all.
Again, thank you An. I appreciate a sister clarifying truth. Blessings to you!
Pearl, thank you for helping me to understand better. I am so grateful to the Lord and to you for your gentle handling of my post and clarification-it begins to heal an old wound in me 🙂 Blessings to you too and so grateful we are all together in Christ 🙂
Pearl @ Look Up Sometimes says
Sweet An, I am so sorry for the old wound you carry. May God tenderly care for you and bring continued healing. Praying for you!
Today I do not feeling loving, a Christ follower or have a drop of empathy or sympathy for the perpetrator. I am minding my own business, being part of a website that is for people learning new languages. Some jerk with the name ‘ John ‘ and claims to be from India ( not likely ), used the chat feature and said hi, I responded with ‘hello’ and his next line was ‘ I have always wanted to have sex with an old lady, do you want to ? ‘. I looked at the screen in disbelief, not because I am naive, far from it, I have been around the block more than a few times, I am clearly a woman with a past, but even this was too much for me. Right now I am angry, disrespected, treated unfairly and undeservedly and I am not sure if I am more mad at what he said or how I let a troll bite so hard at my Achilles heel which is my age.
I will struggle to the day I leave this earth to do as Christ asked, because so many people are unkind, stupid, disrespectful and even sociopathic, troll on the internet love to stir the pot by saying outrageous things, just to wind everybody up and then they disappear having created the chaos they wanted to create, like our old friend Satan.
Eventually I will move past this, but not today. I have to feel my pain, anger and disgust before I can even begin to think of moving past it.
I am disgusted.
Beth Williams says
Praying for peace and contentment today! May God bring some calm to your weary soul! This world we live in is sin sick and becoming like Sodom and Gomorrah. You have to do your best and overlook stupid trolls. I pray you feel Christ’s love surrounding you today and always!
Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. — Psalm 55:22
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will[a] have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
I’ll be praying for you too Elizabeth!! 🙂
Mary, I needed to hear these words today. I too do this and when I see what i have done and said to my girls or expect from my family I repeat those same words, “I’m so done with all of this .” It’s so hard when God loves and forgives us and we can’t do the same to others cause we get hurt or say something hurtful, then I realize what I have done and must go and apologize! God I’m so sorry, please help me to love and see my family through your eyes!!!
Guerry, Sr says
This piece is SO good.
Thank you Mary. Indeed.
What a wonderful post! I started thinking about my soon to be one year relationship with a wonderful man. For the first time, I can say I love someone unconditionally. It isn’t always easy, but I truly do love him that way. There is nothing I want to change. However, the love I place strings on is the love I have for myself. I do not love myself fully or without strings. It is a deeply conditioned love. Finding God has really helped me to work on this and to remember and fdel that someone loves me unconditionally is marvelous! I hope one day I can love myself thay way.
Lynne Lorentsen says
Love this open hearted lesson, Mary. Salve for the wound of my selfishness, his steadfast love never ceases. Thank you so much
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
It’s so hard to look myself in the mirror and see the “conditions” and “expectations” I put on my love. God doesn’t do this to me, so why do I do it to others?? Praying that God would take the hurt that makes me want to throw my hands up and say, “I’m done” and give me the grace to love others with the mercy and forgiveness He has shown me. I so needed this today…
Exactly what I hear from my husband. I pray I can realize if I am doing the same. I continue to pray for acceptance without condemnation as God does for us. Thank you God for Your work on the Cross.
Beth Williams says
I am super thankful for a God who forgives and doesn’t keep score. I could easily be called an Israelite. Good one day and then mess up the next. Only a loving God could keep forgiving the same sins over and over again. He knows our faults and how the devil plays with our minds. Prayer is our only answer. We need to pray asking for forgiveness and forgiving others also!
Beth, your words are my words! I’m encouraged today not only by God’s promise of unconditional love but also knowing I’m not alone in the daily struggles and battles within my head. Thank you for your words and the encouragement to pray! Filling our minds with God’s promises is an effective way to crowd out Satan’s lies. Praying for you today.
Mary, thank you for being so transparent. I really feel Jesus in your honesty. He is speaking to me through your faithfulness. I am grateful for the message. Blessings to you!
Mary, so grateful to the Lord for these admonishing and gentle words of grace. I beg the Lord that He forgive my expectations, those strings that I put on myself and unwittingly do on others-how it weighs the heart this lack of mercy, patience, kindness. How gracious and merciful our Lord is that He would lavish such unconditional love on us, accepting us where we are each day, each second, to gently lead and guide us in His truth. May we each turn to Lord today and ask Him to teach us to love without accounts, in patience, in kindness, in trust, without dishonor or self-seeking so that we may come closer to loving as He does 🙂
Wonderful reminder not to love conditionally. I was raised with conditional love and struggle with loving unconditionally. At times I want to tie my love with strings, and yet relationships are so much better without strings. For them and me.
I have a relationship in my life that greatly frustrates me sometimes. I recently told the other person that I did not feel it was a healthy relationship because I feel like we bring out the worst in each other. Other times I have said to God that I am done, that if God wants this person, He can have them. Yet each day I get up and do my share to keep this relationship going.