Random Notes From What I’m Reading

The story of my life is the story of my faith…

Unconditional

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By Emma Sciantarelli for Relevant Magazine

The best way to truly understand the miraculous nature of the love of God is to find one person with a heart harder than stone and love that person with all your strength. Only when love is completely one-sided—lavished abundantly yet refused immensely—will one begin to understand the heart of a God who loved us while we were still sinners.In recent times I have become involved in the lives of seven Nepali boys, ages six to 14, formerly residents of the street. A product of all things that are street life, my kids use drugs, lie, steal, cheat and fight on a regular basis. Most street kids become beggars before the age of six, marijuana smokers before the age of eight and users of heavier drugs—mainly smack—before the age of 10. Through the process of pulling my boys off the streets, enrolling them in school and giving them another chance, I have had my doubts. Will the boys ever be able to really change?True love is not motivated by potential results. Love does not choose to act when the risks are low and the benefits are high. Love loves because it cannot help itself—it has no choice but to give anything despite everything.

Although love has the power to foster change within the loved, it is not dependent upon this change. Love unceasingly thrives upon itself—no matter what reaction its presence warrants.

Opposition does not encumber true love. The defining character of true love is its ability to stand alone and unhindered, steadfast and resolute. Love remains constant in the moment of trial and unchanged amidst resistance. Although the object of love’s affection may push away, true love does not retreat.

There is a war within 12-year-old Rashon unlike anything I have ever seen in an individual. In a good moment, he is the most loving, considerate boy of them all. He works diligently in school, and his eyes shine with the goodness of a child. Yet, within a split second, the swelling rage of a vicious heart overpowers his goodness

“I no love you—I hate you!!! You no good guys. You no giving me smoking! I no like reading school; I want sleeping street every night! My life no good; I no care,” Rashon screams at me on the bad end of one of his many pendulum swinging emotional lows, “I want every day smoking! I sleep street and every day coming crazy and using.”

Rashon cups his hands around his mouth pantomiming the way street kids inhale glue before he bends down and lifts up a corner of the linoleum flooring of his room. In defiance, Rashon takes out a small bag of marijuana he has been hiding and smirks as he holds it before me. Almost as a challenge, he begins to roll.

My flesh wants to cry out, “After I have sacrificed so much of my life for you? After all I have done for you? After I’ve taken you in, built you a home, made you a bed, given you a life—this? This is how you repay me?”

God quiets my head and love forces me to look deep.

Did you become involved in the lives of these boys for repayment from them or out of obedience to Me? What is not clear about love’s unconditional nature? Before you cared for Me, I loved you. Even still you defy Me—you turn your back on My love—but My love for you remains steadfast. If My love for you had been contingent upon your response, surely I would have left you long ago.

Before me stands the same rage-filled child, yet seen by God’s eyes. I now see a little boy fully aware of the evilness of man but has experienced nothing of the goodness of God.

Suddenly my anger is replaced by a love not my own, and, despite that only moments earlier I wanted nothing more than to scold my rebellious kid, the only words that come out are, “I love you, Rashon.”

“I no love you,” Rashon continuing to smoke, throws his metal chest across the room. His clothes and books spill out as the box hits the wall. “I love you. If you smoke everyday, I will love you.”

Rashon runs at me and begins beating me with his fists in attempts to rid himself of this foreign thing called love. “I no love you. I no want you love me.” “Rashon, no matter what, I am going to love you. Break everything in this room, and I will still love you. If you don’t love me, that’s fine. I still will always love you. If you run away, I will love you. If you stop going to school, I will love you. Nothing you can do will stop me from loving you.”

“You talking, I no listening. You love me; I no care. I no love you,” shoes begin flying and posters torn from the walls. Before I knew God’s love, I wonder how many times my actions said the very same thing to Him.

And yet … “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, TNIV).

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Written by Ryan

November 12, 2007 at 12:50 pm

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