Verse: 1 John 4:7-12
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
I hate opening gifts in front of people. Do you ever feel that pressure? You know that they are hoping for a specific reaction. They are so excited for you to open it. And I'm always afraid - what if my reaction isn't good enough!
I do the same thing though, if I'm on the other side. I want to see them ABSOLUTELY LOVE my gift. And if not? To be honest, we are a little disappointed aren't we?
This is a small example of giving with strings attached. But we do it on larger scales with our love. Love with strings attached is love that is "given" in hopes of "getting" something in return. We show love to someone, so they will be our friend. We show love, so others will see us and think highly of us. We show love, so that they will love us back.
When Jesus loved us, he loved us with no strings attached. John tells us that "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." Jesus gave us the ultimate act of love without any commitment from us. He gave his very life in love to people who would betray him, leave him, disbelieve him, and break his heart. But he did it anyway. Because he is love.
This kind of love, no strings attached love, is so challenging. But it is the love that Jesus calls each of us into. We are to love each other, the way he loves us. We are to love each other with a selfless love that is given expecting nothing in return. This is a beautiful kind of love. And when we learn to love with no strings attached, we'll find we learn a little more of who God is.
God I pray that I would love my friends and family with a love that doesn't demand anything in return. Let my love be a gift, not a manipulation. Help me to learn to love like you do!