He looked at me, his eyes wide within his 7-year-old baby face, and asked: “ Do you mean that if I make good grades you don’t love me more than when I make bad grades?”
“Right,” I said.
“Or if I break your dish you don’t love me less than when I don’t break anything?”
“Right again,” I replied.
“Well, what about on days when I win all my baseball games? Don’t you love me more on those days than the days when I lose?
“No,” I stated. “Dad and I love you the same on all days. And God does too. There is nothing you could do to make us or God love you more and nothing you could do to make us or God love you less. There is no performance required for our love.”
“Hmm,” he said.
I waited patiently as I could tell he was mulling this grand thought over in his head. I knew this concept of unconditional love, of unearned favor, was foreign to his human heart. I smiled and prayed that this kind of love would take root and grow within his heart.
Our children need to know that we love them unconditionally. But more importantly, our children need to know that God loves them, unconditionally, perfectly, just as they are. We need to speak this truth deep into their hearts. The world shouts at our children to perform, to fit in, to succeed and not fail. The world teaches our children that if they don’t have then they have not. So they try to win and earn status to feel good about themselves because it seems to bring approval and love from the world. But it will never be enough.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
True love. Selfless love. Like that of Christ giving his life for each of us will ever be the only thing that is enough to fill our children’s hearts. That is because it does not come from us, it comes from God and knowing Him. Our imperfect human love is no match for Gods perfect love. And if our children understand God’s love for them, they can begin to live from a place of resting in God’s perfect love even when they are not perfect.
Today, go ask your children if they know that there is absolutely nothing they could do to make you or God love them more or less. Listen to their answer and then speak the truth of God’s unconditional love into their hearts.
Let them know today, no matter your frustrations or disappointment with them that you love them always.
Let them know today, that no matter what, there is nothing they can do that will make you love them more or less. But more importantly, let them know how much God loves them. That they can never lose His love. That they never have to earn it. That it doesn’t expire with bad grades or rebellious choices. That it doesn’t increase with trying hard to make the right choices. That there is absolutely no performance required for God’s love.
You are loved just as you are. Your children are loved just as they are. And friend, if that love plants itself into your and your child’s heart, that’s a scandalous, life-changing, earth-shaking kind of love.