Surrounded by Unconditional Love
I have experienced and known love through my family, in my relationship with God, and in friendships. Recently, I have been learning of how love looks with friendships at my YWAM LA home. I am experiencing what it looks like to be surrounded by a group of individuals that love me unconditionally, in a Christ-like manner. As I am in a season of healing and growth, as questions and doubts about myself arise, through this process, it is reassuring to witness and know that friends remain by my side.
This is a new depth of trust I’m allowing myself to feel with a group of people outside of my family, lifelong friends, or God. In the past, there were friendships I had that lacked healthy communication. They had mistakes and problems were not always handled in a healthy manner. At times, I felt as though I had to have it all together and respond that I/it was okay. In my mind I felt that this would protect myself from a friend freaking out, getting annoyed, rejecting me, and essentially not loving or accepting me as and where at. There were times that I didn’t feel as though I could mess up, show frustration or be real. Again, that persistent fear of experiencing rejection. This was based on hurtful actions and words by others or my own perception of what they thought of me. It’s refreshing to be in a place where I know that I will be valued and loved at my lowest and my highest. I know that no matter what I am feeling: happy, angry, sad, confused, and so on, I am surrounded by unconditional love.
So what does unconditional love mean?
Perfect love is only possible through God. We will one day experience this perfect love, but until then, we get glimpses of this love through the new covenant that has been established by God. The new covenant is “to love our God and love our neighbor as ourselves” (Matthew 22:37-39). In Psalm 36:5-7 the writer uses a few words to paint a powerful picture of God’s unfailing love. “Your love, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. How priceless is your unfailing love. People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” Through this passage, the author describes that we cannot take or add to God’s love, no matter if we please God or if we sin. God’s love remains steadfast yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Ephesians 3:17-19 discusses God’s love shifting from head knowledge to heart knowledge, gaining fresh revelation in understanding and comprehending its depths each day. This passage is asking for the readers’ roots to reach deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. When we continue to receive and experience the love of Christ in our hearts, his love can flow through us to others. We are all on a journey of learning to rewire our brains to understanding this heavenly, kingdom love. I am reminded of the importance to surround myself with people who love me for me. It is a beautiful quality when your closest friends will call out the gifts that God has placed in you and where you are headed through his eyes. In 1 Peter 4:8, we see that it is key to learn to share this received love with others as well. Here, our heart lies with the individuals that we are reaching out to.
Friendships going after unconditional love are needed by all of us. The women, men, and children we are reaching out to in sex trafficking need to experience this love. These individuals need to be surrounded by those that view them as worthy, valued, and loved, not for what they do or say but for who they are. They need to be loved for their very being and the core of who God created them to be. As staff with Justice 180, we continue to learn and demonstrate this love toward God, ourselves, each other, and as we go onto the streets of LA to those being sexually exploited. As surrounded by earthly pain, suffering and injustice, we continue to grasp onto and stand for God’s kingdom culture of selfless, unconditional love.
- Are you surrounded by a community where you experience this unconditional love?
- How are you doing your part in creating this atmosphere with those in your life?
- Is there anyone God is nudging you to show His radical love toward today?
- If so, what is holding you back from doing so?