They are three simple words “I love you” but they have such a powerful impact in a child’s life. As mums I assume most of us say “I love you” to our little ones multiple times a day. I know I say it sometimes without even thinking to my girls because I do love them but it was not until recently that I really grasped the importance of these words in my girl’s lives.
This realisation came while I was listening to someone talk on God’s love for us and it hit me at that moment that God loves me. Of course I knew this as I have been a Christian for nearly fifteen years but sometimes I just think of God as loving all people and forget that God loves me, personally. He knows everything about me, my every thought (some of which I would be ashamed for even my closest people to know), all my selfishness, all my laziness and of course the occasional good thing I do too. Even knowing all these things He still loves me! Most people who know me now find it hard to believe it but I did a lot of things I am not proud of when I was younger. For me the fact that God knows my deepest darkest secrets and he loves me the same is amazingly overwhelming.
Being loved unconditionally is a rare thing in today’s world. Even many marriages rely on the condition that I will love you as long as I am “in love” with you or as long as you treat me as I think I should be treated. It seems that the parent/child relationship is the one relationship in our world where people really demonstrate unconditional love.Although too often we hear stories about children from homes where they are never told they are loved or are constantly told they are stupid or useless. It is no wonder that often these children grow up with emotional difficulties and low self esteem
Recently, I heard Emily repeat back to us “I love you...even when you are naughty” . In our family we want to demonstrate the unconditional love we have received from God to our children. We want them to know there is nothing they can do or will ever do that will cause us to stop loving them. Hopefully as they grow older they will be able to have an understanding of God’s unconditional love for them (from our very flawed example) and they will love others in this way .
Being loved unconditionally is the most freeing thing in the world. When you are loved without condition we are free to be ourselves without fear of rejection because of something we do, say or think. We also want our children to know that even if they choose not to follow what we have taught them from the Bible they will still be loved unconditionally by us and by God. We also want them to know that even when it seems that people are judging them by the way they look, or by the things they say, or their life circumstances that they are always loved by us and by God.
It is my hope and prayer that my children will not look to their physical attractiveness, their intelligence or their achievements to find their self worth, but that they will know that whoever they are and whatever they do they are loved.
How can you work on loving those in your life unconditionally in a world where love is almost always conditional?