Why do we have trouble loving others unconditionally? Two reasons:
- We don’t love ourselves.
- We aren’t receiving love from anyone.
If we don’t love ourselves, we will be unwilling to receive love from others because we believe we are unworthy. Because there is no love going in, we have no love going out. We grow bitter and angry and skeptical of anything good. We don’t trust. We don’t thrive.
We all have unmet needs, unfilled wants, and unhealed hurts. When those aren’t met, we start looking for love, acceptance, worth and security from anyone and anywhere. If we can’t find anyone, we choose anywhere or anything. This is why so many are addicted to substances, sex, porn, food, and on and on the list goes. These addictions only cause more guilt and more shame and give us more reasons to hate ourselves. We see no reason for anyone to love us and so we shut down. We know deep down the reason why we can’t be in meaningful relationships and extend love. But we look for ways to pass the blame. And so we say it’s our dad’s fault for doing this….Or mom’s fault…or his fault or her fault. After a while, we forget who we are really angry at and we end up being angry with everyone. We are destitute of love, peace and purpose.
But in this dark tunnel where we are stumbling about aimlessly searching for answers, Jesus shines His light. He shows up and loves us here. Even in our mess. Even in our shame. Even in our addiction. Even in our stubbornness and belief that we could never go back. Never undo. Never return. He comes running to us like the Father to the Prodigal Son. We just have to come to our senses as it says the Prodigal did. We have to choose to believe that anything is better than living in this downward spiral of hate and guilt and shame. That if there is a God, then maybe, just maybe, He can put our lives back together.
I remember being in a season of life where I felt like God just did not like me. I felt like I could never measure up. I felt like I had gone too far. I was a mess. My marriage was falling apart and I didn’t recognize my own face in the mirror. I was suicidal. Done. I had started hurting myself and spent most of my days in a fetal position in our dark bedroom. One night as I lay face down on the floor absolutely broken, I remember thinking God had left me. Given up on me. Stopped loving me. And it was in that darkness that I heard Jesus says, “I love you. Even here. Even now.” That experience changed my life. I never before accepted that Jesus loves me even in the middle of my mess. But He does. And He knew I needed to hear it from HIM.
Romans 5:8 says that in the midst of our disfunction, Jesus died for us. That’s hard for us to wrap our minds around because we would struggle dying for someone good. Jesus died for someone completely broken, unfixable: Me. You. All of us. He knows apart from Him, we have no hope. No healing. No purpose. So what’s holding you back from accepting this unconditional love? What’s keeping you from embracing Jesus as your Savior from yourself? All you have to do is believe that He died for you and rose again. Believe. And He will start putting your life back together and transforming you into the whole person He created you to be.