Unconditional?

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I have been avoiding this post for about two weeks.  This is something I did not want to believe; yet the Lord in His infinite patience taught me I must let go of a false belief.  I don’t want to think my grandmother could have been off track, but… maybe?

My grandma had a unique ability to support others in whatever they wanted to do.  This went beyond supporting someone in a business venture or going to college.  It didn’t matter to her if it was good or bad, moral or immoral, legal or illegal.  She supported you.  Her support was not financial.  But it was unconditional.

For years, I admired her ability.  She was very much a 20s and 70s party girl.  She had an “anything goes” type of attitude.  Yes, that is the 1920s – her heyday!  She often said I was too judgmental.

I find it hard to support endeavors if it is illegal or plans to hurt someone.  I haven’t been able to do what she did well.  Lately, I have been asking the question; what is unconditional support?  According to my dictionary:

  • Unconditional means: Being without conditions or limitations; Absolute.
  • Support in this context means: (as a verb) To aid the cause of by approving, favoring, or advocating; and (as a noun) One that supports. 1

In the last six months, the government, in America, limited our freedoms and violence exploded across the country.  One thing is clear to me.  Remember, this is part of my journey to understand.  They have drawn the line is between God and the world, or if you prefer, good and evil.   Do we allow and then support that which we know is illegal and wrong?  That’s the choice I see.

If I were to accept my grandma’s way of thinking; the burning of buildings, beating up people and spreading judgment, hatred, and unforgiveness would be okay.  For me, it is not.  My soul cries for those injured and killed in whatever this is supposed to be.  Watching our civic leaders fumble governance; I see unconditional support at its most extreme form is destruction.  Today I am struggling with admiring my grandma but seeing the absolute worst fruit come from this action.

I needed to know if God gives us unconditional support.  Is this a concept in the scriptures?  I found it was not.  In fact I found the word unconditional used once in Numbers 3:9 and only in the New American Bible Revised Edition:

“You shall assign the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they have been assigned unconditionally to him from among the Israelites.”

All the other English versions in BibleGateway.com, used words like wholly, given, assigned, and completely in this passage.  No, I did not have time to go back and look up all of those words throughout the bible.  The stark contrast was clear.  While God loves us no matter what, there are conditions.

My memory pricked to when I was seven years old.  My mom taught me about God and his son Jesus.  Jesus died for us.  Then I memorized a verse:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16] 2

I learned everlasting life was heaven and spending time with the most perfect God.  Oh! how I wanted this thing called everlasting life.  Look at the verse, like everything in life there is a condition; I had to believe in His only son, Jesus.

It was easy to believe in Jesus when I was a child raised in a Christian home.  The path became harder as I entered adulthood.  I still held my belief but tucked it away in my heart to live the way I wanted.  I felt I had unconditional support in finding my way in the world.  This path led me away from God.  Jesus became less and less important to me.

To get back my relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, I had to meet Him on His terms (conditions).  I was through with trying to run my life and needed a God stronger than me.  With the weight of the world on my shoulders, grandma’s unconditional support did not help me fix the mess I made of my life.

I tried to be like my grandma and unconditionally support others in their quests.  But I admit I failed.  I could not go along with decisions against my faith.  I would give weak support without standing up for my values.

Lately I noticed that God does supports us, but it is not unconditional.  He cannot support the opposite of His nature.  Sin is where God draws the line.  He is very clear.  God hates pride, idolatry, theft, lying… Name them!  The list of sins is long.  We all have our own list, and we cannot be in his presence with sin in our souls.  But there is hope.  We can return to Him, confess our sins, and he is faithful and just to forgive us (I John 1:9).  While God has conditions for us, He loves us enough to support us on our journeys.

I may have figured it out.  My grandma was a great sinner and if she supported you in your dreams, goals, and vices, aka3 sins.  You didn’t look too closely at her sins.  Someday I will sit down and write my memories of my grandma.  While I identified with her and personally we got along, I also understand her failings.  She and I are not that different.  We took very different journeys in our lives, but we still share the most important thing:  The Grace of God and the Son of God, Jesus Christ saved us.

Cast your care upon the Lord,

who will give you support.

He will never allow

the righteous to stumble.”

[Psalm 55:23] 4

Peace be with you,

Milly

 

1 Webster’s II New College Dictionary, Third Edition

2 From the New King James Version

3 also known as

4 From the New American Bible Revised Edition

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