The Advantages of Unconditional Love

This is a message I feel led to write but really do not know how to begin.  I was not raised in a Christian home and after four years in the Navy and at age 22, I accepted Christ.  My wife’s father was a minister and it is like she has always been a Christian.  We met at a Christian college and upon my wife’s graduation we married.

Having received salvation my commitment to God was to live the best Christian life I could.  That meant it was necessary to study the Bible in order to learn what it meant to live a holy and righteous life.  I believe the following Scripture influenced me more than anything.  Mark 12:30 – 31 – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Last evening we watched on TV a couple go through marriage counseling.  They had been married for eight years and had reached the bottom.  Things couldn’t get any worse and they were considering divorce.   As we listened to their story we couldn’t help realizing that their problems were: If you don’t do this then I won’t do that.  They gave love and always expected something in return.  If they didn’t get what they wanted then they would respond negatively.  As they responded in a hurtful way it caused the other to respond in a similar fashion.

In sports we would make up the rules and if you didn’t play by my rules I would take my ball and go home.  Then you won’t have any ball to play with and I would win.  The couple had domineering personalities and had to win in every discussion.  Life can either be lived in agreement or you can disagree.  However, how you treat each other in disagreements matters.  Do you always have to win and how important is winning?

Being involved in sports and having been a high school coach requires a certain degree of competitiveness.  But sports and marriage are completely different.  Winning in one is ultimately important.  Winning every battle in marriage at the expense of your mate is not a positive strategy.  It is not what the Bible teaches.  What may work at sports or at work is much different than what works in a marriage.

If my commitment to God was to live for Him I had to accept loving my wife unconditionally.  This meant regardless what she did or said it wasn’t for me to get even but to love her as Scripture says I was to love her.  Her response to me was the same.  We have raised four children together and have never had a major disagreement.  We didn’t always agree but we never became disagreeable.  Thank God He explained to us how we were to treat each other.

We listened to the couple last night on TV and couldn’t believe married people would treat each other as they did.  We are born self-centered, prideful individuals wanting our own way.  If we don’t get what is expected someone must pay.  Revenge is a characteristic of a sinful person.  Scripture says that if we make the commitment to accept Christ and receive the Holy Spirit we can become a new creation or born again.  That new person, following Christ’s teaching, can learn to love God with all of their might and to love others as themselves.  It doesn’t work in just marriage but in your relationship with others, whether at work or anywhere.

I found that the commandment Christ said was the greatest of all worked in coaching or in the management of people.  Over the years I have found God gave us a manual for living a happy, prosperous and joyful life if we just accept and follow what it says we are to do.  My wife and I can attest to the importance of living as the commandments say and that is to love unconditionally in all phases of life.  Here is what we have learned: The more I love God the more I want to please Him.  The more I love my wife the more I want to please her.  The more I love God the more blessings I have received.  The more I love my wife the more love I have received in return.

The following Scripture is also helpful: Ephesians 5:22 – 27 – “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

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