You ever go out of your way, over and above, extend beyond comfort or convenience for someone just for them to not return the same effort and energy, not show up or not support you or not give equal sacrifice? It could be on a grand level or minute level, but either way it can sting or feel very disrespectful. You loved, gave, did from the kindness of your heart and what? Got nothing in return whether it was no “thank you,” the person didn’t show up, the friend didn’t have your back when you needed them or the family member didn’t come through for you like you always do for them.
It rubs you the wrong way and kinda makes you want to adjust whether that be falling back from them, not doing for them again, closing off, etc. But then I have to ask, “is that unconditional love?”
What Would Jesus Do?
“These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.”
Matthew 15:8 HCSB
“Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided His clothes and cast lots.”
Luke 23:34 HCSB
“But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!”
Romans 5:8 HCSB
3 perfect instances of Christ knowing just how undeserving we were, and are, of His sacrifice, yet choosing to follow through with it anyway.
I think about Christ and His sacrifice. His complete selflessness. He left perfect Heaven to endure this world, He endured the gossip, lies, beatings, humiliation and endured the cross all for us, our salvation, for the payment of our sins. He did this knowing we wouldn’t always come through for Him when He called on us to do something as His hands and feet in the earth. He did this knowing we wouldn’t always show up in personal study time with Him or church on Sunday morning. He did this even knowing many wouldn’t accept His gift of salvation and would reject Him. He did this knowing none of us could pay Him back for His sacrifice. Knowing all of this, He hung there ANYWAY because what Christ does, the sacrifice 2,000+ years ago and the daily blessings He bestows upon us now are rooted in Who He is and His love for us, not who we are or what we can give Him in return.
That’s unconditional love, no strings attached.
So I ask you, do you love unconditionally? Are your acts of love truly selfless with no strings attached?
Unconditional - not subject to ANY conditions.
When you hold the door open for someone and they walk through without giving you a “thank you”, do you mumble in your heart “I should’ve let the door shut on them?” When you do for another and they don’t reciprocate the same energy, do you feel some type of way and question if you should’ve looked out for them? When you get someone something nice and they don’t act as grateful as you think they should, do you regret even spending the money to bless them? Then, I’d dare say your kind act of selfless love and generosity was not truly selfless. It wasn’t from a place of unconditional love if the act was done expecting a certain response AND THEN when that response wasn’t received, you regretted the kind gesture you did in the first place.
Sometimes we think because we did something of our own initiative, out of the kindness of our heart, that it’s a selfless and generous act, however, if we have those underlying expectations of how the recipient should receive or respond to the act, and our attitude about giving changes based on that response, it wasn’t truly selfless. We were looking for something in return whether it be a gesture, kind word, nice act, etc. Those are strings attached.
Let everything you do be tied to Who God is and what He requires of you. Let it be tied to the heart you have and the Spirit guiding you rather than other people and your expectations of them.
It’s not about how others will receive the love you show, it’s about reflecting Christ’s love regardless of people’s response. Do the kind deed, share what you have, get the gift. Let your actions have no strings or expectations attached. Do for others because YOU want to, not because you anticipate them to show up, reciprocate or meet some other expectation. The latter is how you get drained and let down. Let your love flow freely, not be tied up with strings.
May our actions always be selfless, no strings or expectations attached. That’s when you’re truly loving and living free.
This isn’t to encourage anyone to remain in one sided relationships/connections where you overextend yourself, overexert yourself or pour until empty without being refilled by the other party. This is just an invitation to assess how unconditional your love and selfless your acts of love really are.