Bible Reading: John 3:16-21
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
“You can go in and see your dad now,” a nurse told Little Matt. As he entered the hospital room, he stared with wide eyes at his father lying in the big bed. Big Matt was surrounded by big tubes and little TV screens.
Dad looked like he was sleeping, but his eyes flickered open when his son walked in. “Hi, Matty,” he said, smiling. He tried to reach out to his son, but a needle stuck in his hand made it a struggle to move.
Little Matt gently took Big Matt’s hand. He knew his dad wasn’t sick. Dad had just done something unbelievable for his brother Ben, Little Matt’s uncle. When Uncle Ben’s kidneys quit working, Dad gave up one of his, letting doctors remove it from his body and transplant it into Ben’s. His dad had saved his uncle’s life.
Some gifts are so big and so good that there is no hope of ever paying them back … like a dad who donates an organ to his brother… a police officer who dies to save a child … a Savior who dies for the sins of the world.
Those are gifts given with no strings attached. But lots of the so-called love we get in life falls short of that incredible care.
Much love is an “I love you if. . .” or “I love you because …” kind of love. It says “I love you if you behave well” or “I love you if you act or dress a certain way” or “I love you if you disappear and don’t bug me.” Or it says “I love you because you are so beautiful” or “I love you because you make me laugh.” That’s love we have to earn by being the right person, doing the right thing, or having the right stuff. This “if” and “because” love is conditional love.
“I love you, period” is the kind of love we’re all looking for. It comes with no conditions. It sticks around whether we deserve it or not. It says “I love you no matter what you might be like deep inside. I love you no matter what might change about you. I love you no matter what you can or can’t do for me.” “Love, period” gives without demanding anything in return. “Love, period” is unconditional.
That’s the kind of love Big Matt had for his brother. And it’s the great love God has for you, the one that prompted him to give his Son, Jesus, to die for your sins. There’s no way you can earn this type of love, nor can you lose it. It arrives with no strings attached!
TALK: In what ways can you love the people around you with a “love, period” kind of love?
PRAY: Tell God thanks for his unconditional love and ask him to fill you with his love for others.
ACT: Show a friend some “love, period” love today!