How many times have you ever received a promotional mailer, email, or just heard a salesman offer you something that sounded too good to be true only to find out there were so many conditions attached that it might as well have been impossible? I know I have; at least a thousand times. The bait and switch method of marketing is all around us trying to lure us into something that will benefit others more than ourselves.
It seems that our culture has evolved into a culture of give to get. In order to get what we want, we need to fulfill someone else’s set of rules, processes, and requirements to receive what we’re looking for. It starts in our grade schools. If you want to be accepted, you need to be pretty, funny, athletic, or rich. If you fail to meet the criteria of being ‘popular’, then you’re tossed aside and expected to stay out of the way.
The same is true with adults in ways that aren’t so obvious. Work, friends, family, and even church have expectations on us that, if we fail to meet, we’re either ostracized or looked down upon. It’s as though acceptance and love have strings.
Conversely, have you ever met someone who just loved you for who you are? It didn’t matter what you said, how you acted, or what you did, they just kept on loving you no matter what. Many of us probably think of a parent or that one friend in our life who stands out above all the rest. Others of us may have never known such acceptance. Their life may have been full of rejection, failed expectations, and cruelty from those who only wanted to take from them.
Life can be cruel. There is no doubt about that. Adding to the harshness of this world we live in is the reality that we are all flawed. None of us are perfect (though some would never admit that). At the heart of us all is the inherent need for love and acceptance no matter what we do; the longing for unconditional love.
I’ve been fortunate to have had numerous people in my life who have loved me not matter what I do. Several good friends, my mother, and wife being among them. Sure, I may have (and still do) driven them crazy from time-to-time, but at the end of the day I could rest assured that they would still be there and love me for just being me.
At the opposite end, unforgiveness is one of the most destructive forces in our world. The lack of accepting another because they have failed us, hurt us, or done something we see as unforgiveable, tears at the very fabric of our society. It leads a person straight down the road to hate. Once there, it’s very difficult for them to turn back. I’ve been on the receiving end of that hate in my life for things I haven’t even done. To see how that unforgiveness has wreaked havoc in those people’s lives is a sad thing to see.
Fortunately for all of us, there is only one whom we ultimately need to find acceptance from; God. I say fortunately because of all there is in this world, there is one thing I know without any doubt; that our creator and heavenly father loves us with a love that goes beyond our limited human understanding.
His love is truly unconditional. No matter what our church, our friends, or even our parents have taught us, His love is without end. There is no stopping God from loving us just as we are. His love sees through the messiness, the heartache, and the pain to the soul He created inside of us. It reaches beyond the judgment, the false accusations, the betrayal, and the hurt to bring healing and acceptance; not because of what we do, but because of who He is.
If you’re struggling with rejection, fear, and unworthiness, know that there’s nothing you can do to earn His favor; you already have it. All you need to do is accept it by faith. It’s just waiting for you. No matter what life may have thrown at you, you are loved today by the God of all creation; unconditionally and without hesitation…