“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!” A devotional this morning quoted Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem. In the poem ‘unconditional’ never gets mentioned.
Unconditional, unfailing love does not always look like ‘love’. Only the bloody battered Son of God on the cross can carry that off honestly. What does this kind of love actually look like in our own world? It is still mostly in the doing, not in words. Words are necessary for the conveyance of clarity… “I love you!” It still remains in ‘what we do’ to clearly indicate the truth of our words.
Giving your children good and needful teaching also entails ‘discipline’. I thank God daily that my parents taught me good work habits, manners, thankfulness AND they disciplined me when I wasn’t willing to pay attention to that training. Sometimes they let me suffer the consequences of my actions without reprimand because the results were sufficient for me to learn, BUT there were times when a tongue lashing or a few good whacks on the backside taught me something I would not have learned otherwise. There have always been people who would not discipline their children. The examples that come to mind in history go way back in time. Eli the priest did not pay attention to and discipline his sons (1 Samuel 2:12-36) an then Samuel made the same mistake (1 Samuel 8), my guess is because he had no other example set before him. These mighty men of God who were used greatly did not love rightly and it cost them and their children. Had they listened to the Lord God and paid attention to the sons behavior, disciplined them in love, how different things could have been.
I never lacked for attention to my behavior, it was beneficial then and is today. I never doubted the love of my parents and my grandma even being disciplined. Oh, I did hear, “this hurts me more than it hurts you” and thought it was a crock, but inside my heart of hearts, I knew they meant it. Mom slapped me in the mouth one time as a smart mouth teen, (I deserved it) but I heard her crying at the sink after.
I don’t believe that God allows things in our lives without purpose. We don’t always know the purpose, but we do have His Word on it, that He loves us unconditionally and unfailingly. He has proved it in ‘deed’. Sometimes we cry brokenhearted because we feel unloved and un-cared for, but He is working all things for our good. He said so! If we love and Him and purpose in our hearts to hear, listen, obey…..
Romans 8:28 We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.