Leading with Love Unconditional
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, 13
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
One of my favorite games to play with our children is “I love you this much!” When we play this game, the first question I ask them is, “How much do I love you?” In response they flash their big beautiful smiles, stretch their arms out as wide as they can, and shout “this much!”
My next question in the game is always, “Does my love for you ever change?” And again, they smile and boldly exclaim, “nope it never changes” because they have come to learn that on their best and worst days of behavior, my love for them is constant, it is unconditional. There is nothing they can do to make me love them any less or any more, just as there is nothing they, or we, can do to diminish or increase God’s love for us. It is unconditional.
God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
When we allow this kind of unconditional love to infuse our parenting, we reflect the heart of Jesus towards our children. This unconditional love of Jesus does not say, “Stop sinning, clean yourself up, then come to me and I will love you.” No, Jesus, in His unconditional love, died for us while we were still sinners. In Christ, we are simultaneously sinful and accepted. (Martin Luther)
Romans 3: 23-24
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
Jesus, in His unconditional love and underserved kindness, is not in the business of guilt, shame, rejection, or condemnation. Rather, He seeks to convict, redeem, and restore us through His grace- to set us free! This is how we know that Jesus loves us exactly as we are, but too much to leave us that way. (Brennan Manning) This love of Jesus is not only unconditional, it’s transformative!
And this love has the power to transform our children’s hearts when we infuse it into the way we lead them through authority and obedience, training and instruction, discipline and correction, and forgiveness and repentance.
I hope to share with you, through future blogs in this section, how we can reflect the heart of Jesus for our kids when His grace is our guide!