It flows as instinctively as we draw a breath of air. It carries no qualifiers or provisions. No matter how frustrated we may become at their refusal to follow rules, adhere to a schedule, or show some measure of behavior in public, we love our children unconditionally, just as God loves us.
In Deuteronomy 7:7-8, God demonstrated unconditional love toward the rebellious nation of Israel: “The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
The Old Testament book of Hosea tells of a prophet’s steadfast love in the face of infidelity. After obeying God’s command to marry Gomer, a harlot, Hosea learns that Gomer has been unfaithful. Rather than shunning her, Hosea redeems Gomer from the slave market.
In his book The Joy of Knowing God, Richard L. Strauss wrote that because of God’s unconditional love, nothing we do can make it disappear.
“He loves us when we’re grouchy just as much as when we’re glad. He loves us when we sin just as much as when we don’t. He loves us when we open our mouths and say things we know we shouldn’t have said. He loves us when our wives or husbands or parents or children are not treating us as though they love us. He loves us when we’re feeling as though nobody in the whole world loves us. He loves us even when we don’t like ourselves. He never stops loving us.”
While human expressions of romantic love in novels and movies may tug at our heartstrings, the unconditional love God bears for us and we for our children is unquestionably the truest of loves. As Valentine’s Day approaches, consider re-committing yourself to this love, using these affirmations as guidelines:
• I will be present to my child and take time to observe, appreciate, and understand his behavior, both positive and negative.
• I will show genuine respect and interest in my child through my expressions, speech, and body language.
• I will acknowledge, value, and encourage him to feel comfortable being himself in my presence and in the presence of others.
• I will demonstrate love for my child in addition to verbalizing it.
• I will delight in what a unique character my child is.
Being mindful of the impact unconditional love has on our children not only makes us better parents, but it also creates more confident and loving children.
What affirmation would you add to our list of guidelines for unconditional love?