Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:7-8). God created us to live in an environment of love. God’s original plan was that husbands and wives bear children, and then raise them in an atmosphere of unconditional, self-sacrificial love. That’s God’s best, but because of the fall, we often fail to receive the nurturing love that will balance us out spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and socially. If parents are raised in a non-nurturing home, then they will most likely infect their children with the same kinds of neglect of love that was modeled to them when they were young. And the cycle goes on and on for generations. A human being has a God-given need to be loved. It’s basic to who we are. And if we don’t receive this nurturing love as children, it produces a love deficit that can affect a person lifelong. People looking for love live lives of fear of exposure and fear of others. Without parental nurturing love, this common belief fills the human psyche: Those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished. Children need an environment that shows them, even if you fail, I still love you. And the truth is that is the way the Father treats us in Christ. He loves us no matter what we do. No, He doesn’t commend us when we do wrong, but He nevertheless loves us and woos us to Jesus’ cleansing blood when we sin. If we’re loved only when we succeed, then it promotes fear and causes us to hide our real selves from others. When Adam and Eve failed in the garden, they hid themselves from God and from one another. Like them, we often box ourselves in with a roof to keep God out, and walls of defense to keeps others out if we fear that exposure of our real selves will bring rejection. Agape love is love that is unconditional and self-sacrificial. And this is the love that we are to show to each other. When we love with agape, we don’t require others to perform to our standards before we love them. We love them just as they are, because that is the way God loves us. Agape love is self-sacrificial, and puts its own needs last and puts others first. This agape is to rule the family of God and is to be a sign to the world that we are different. If you’ve been raise with criticism, harshness, and conditional love, then the family of God is the place to come to be loved with real love. Most people live fear based lives. There is no fear in love. Genuine love brings freedom and intimacy. In the presence of genuine love, there is no fear of rejection or exposure. Come with me on this journey to live a love based life that treats others in an unconditional, self-sacrificial way. It’s the way of the Father.
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