“The word “Unconditional” does not mean that ANYTHING goes! Unconditional means: wholehearted, unqualified, unlimited, unrestricted, unmitigated, unquestioning; complete, total, entire, full, absolute, unequivocal.
NO human can love like this! You do not have to accept a persons sinful life and lies, just to prove u “unconditionally love”- you are displaying tolerance at best and EVENTUALLY tolerance WILL BREAK YOU. –
It is ONLY through God that we can LEARN to Love like this. People fail, people have expectations. Tolerating someone who is negatively impacting you to depression and destruction is NOT unconditionally loving them. Sometimes an unconditional lover has to be strong and STAND UP for the truth!” – Jessica Heilman, via Facebook
“I always seem to interpret the scripture “forgive your brother 77 times” and “turn the other cheek” as allowing hurtful people to remain in my life and continue to love them and look past their hurtful ways.”
I read your post on unconditional love and it really has me thinking, how are we supposed to love others who hurt us? What does Jesus expect of us? Especially those who continue to hurt us or have abusive tendencies? Or those who constantly lie and try to take advantage of others? Where is the line between self respect and self preservation and forgiveness and unconditional love?? I always seem to interpret the scripture “forgive your brother 77 times” and “turn the other cheek” as allowing hurtful people to remain in my life and continue to love them and look past their hurtful ways. But is this really what Jesus meant??
Hallelujah! What a great question that you have asked, and what an awesome opportunity for me to be able to share with you my thoughts!
I think that the bottom line in the whole issue is forgiveness vs. tolerance. Forgiving a person is in fact something that we should ALL do. Your question is so good because doesn’t it sometimes seem contradictory of Christ to say, “77 times” to forgive to Peter, but then also to say when spreading the gospel “If a town does not receive you, dust off your sandals and leave?” He also said to the unfruitful fig tree, “May you never bear fruit again!” and immediately the tree withered.
Luke 13:6 & 7 says:
“Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'”
WHOA! So here we have Jesus telling Peter to seemingly “forgive” forever, but to the disciples and to the fig tree he is saying, “YOU DON’T PRODUCE FRUIT, GET OUT OF MY SIGHT, You are not worthy enough to take up the nutrients from even the soil!”
Now, I have learned that the Bible never contradicts itself when you read it as a whole. Peter, became “the rock” after years of being known as “Simon” which means “weed” (A weed wavers in the wind). Peter CONSTANTLY wavered in his emotions, and as a matter of fact you will read in the NT when Peter is weak he is referred to as Simon and vice versa. To the point where Jesus says to Peter in Mark 8:33 “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
Peter by instinct took offense. It was in his nature, along with his passion and zeal came this dangerous tendency to become offended an be found in an emotionally and unstable state. Like, cutting off the ear of the soldier in Gethsemane and denying Christ! Having Jesus tell Peter of ALL His disciples the importance of forgiveness, was as CRITICAL for Peter- as it was for us… probably MORE so! I suppose it would be like a kid saying to you, “Um mom… is it REALLY that important to eat vegetables?” “YES son, ALWAYS eat your vegetables.”
Forgiveness for the Christian is like water is for the river. Without it, the river could not exist. Do we need to forgive? ABSOLUTELY, do we need to tolerate abuse… ABSOLUTELY NOT.
There is found in the Bible scripture after scripture of men standing up for injustice. From Noah, to Jesus Himself! Jesus didn’t just “turn the cheek” to the devil, He hit Him with the hardest blow… DEATH! Did the devil really think he could “kill” God… HA! Jesus staying alive and playing the “flesh” game and ruling on the earth without having descended first, would have been for him to live in a “tolerated” humanity. The longer He lived in the flesh only, the longer he had to live “under the rule” i.e. the physical limitations of the “ruler of this world” satan! Jesus made a STAND, intolerant of future injustices for ALL of mankind!
TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK
It is my opinion that the “turning the cheek” scripture cannot be read without also reading “Be angry and sin not”. The scripture says BE angry. Read it again… “BE ANGRY and sin not” (Eph 4:26) It is OK to be angry! Many times God acted with righteous and jealous anger. (Christ throwing over the tables in the temple for instance). I once heard Creflo Dollar preach that “Anger is ok, as long as you are angered TOWARD righteousness.” In other words, are you using the “anger” in a productive means to make a change and see a positive result? Or are you getting angry in just in retaliation? We can easily get angry towards righteousness in some things like being ANGRY about the relief efforts in Haiti, or at the devil for attacking us, or at any other harmful injustices to society/family… BE MAD, but don’t try and get even- GET TO WORK!
BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS
“Blessed are the peacemakers” Did you know that the Greek definition of “peacemaker” means “the one who delivers the message of salvation”? Seriously, a peace maker is a person who helps to make peace in the SOULS of men regarding salvation! That is what Jesus was referring to!
I was up late the other night watching The Biggest Looser, and I was thinking about your question as I watched a boxing match between two women. The attacker was like BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM!! The woman who needed to loose weight was taking the hits. I noticed that there was really a rhythm and a tappity-tap-tap to the sound of the hits. It was at this moment that I thought about a person (maybe like you), just standing in the ring getting beat on BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM!!, and I began to wonder is this type of abuse God’s BEST? Are we “fully equipped” (Heb 13:20-21) by God to just sit back and TAKE THE BEAT DOWN? NO GOSH DARNIT!
The devil will take EVERY opportunity to hit YOU, and he will use everyone that he can to beat you OUT of God’s best. BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM!! What I have learned however, is that it is not about you hitting back in the ring of life, in order to hurt the other person, it is about you preserving the word that you know for yourself to be true!
The word “rebuke” in Hebrew literally means “TO CHANGE YOUR POSITION”, so when the enemy is attacking you and beating you- we MUST put him in his place! We are called to use our God given authority to FORCE him to change his position! He, being the weaker vessel than the Lord God Almighty, by the name of Jesus MUST relent!
He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue. Proverbs 28:3
If you KNOW (for example) that stealing is wrong, how long do you let your “friend” force you to steal? If you KNOW premarital sex is wrong and not God’s best, how long do you hop into bed? Forgiving someone’s negligence of the Word by accepting them and tolerating them, is NOT what Christ has instructed us to do! We must first change OUR position through rebuking and reproofing ourselves, then we must take a stand and rebuke and correct the harmful actions of others.
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matt 10:34-37
THE WORD FOR “UNAPOLOGETIC DISTANCING”
What I do, in real life application, is practice “Unapologetic Distancing”. If there is someone in my life who constantly tries to abuse the power that they have, to somehow “lord” over and try and control me, they do not get ANY of my precious time. I walk in forgiveness toward them by being available to serve and help them the minute they come back in repentance and are ready and willing to desire a change- if this is the case, I am there with open arms to receive them! But if not? What to do when someone else will not relent? Unapologetic distancing! I do NOT go out of my way for them, and I am NOT sorry about that ONE BIT. At times, I have had to put even close family members through this distancing in protection of the jewels that the Lord has given to me- so that they not be thrown before the swine! “A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD”
The question then becomes, are we SOLD OUT to Christ and HIS message enough to let harmful relationships go-even our families? The Word DOES say, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” As long as we tolerate abuse and captivity (since Christ paid the price to set us free), we are loving the tormentor MORE than the Freedom Giver, and that is no way to live at all! JESUS died we could be made free!!
There are a couple of CLAUSES to Unapologetic Distancing for the Christian, and that is in regards to husbands and wives, and sons and daughters*. NEVER and under NO circumstances is it ok to “write a spouse off” or put ANY kind of distance between the two. It is a spouse’s role to bridge ALL divides and sanctify all unrighteous married behavior through prayers and vigilance and belief in the blood shed on the cross for our redemption. There is a way that a spouse wins back their mate, and it is through self-respect and a DEEP walk with Christ. If the relationship is however NOT bonded by marriage, than Unapologeticly Distancing for the sake of the gospel is what we ALL need to do!
In Christ’s love-
Love Always, Your friend-
*If you are having a challenge with abusive children, and or children that abuse themselves… GO GET THEM! Hug them no matter what the age, love them and support them, apologize to them and ask them for their forgiveness. We as parents MUST take responsibility over our children’s choices in their lives- and we MUST be available to them to help them get through our parental negligence. Too many parents write off their children for making “their own bad decisions” when in reality- their decisions ALWAYS come as a result of a parents leading example. This is a PAINFUL process, as we all WANT to be great parents- and think we are the best, but when there is error or harm being manifested in the family- be quick to repent, help and put back the pieces!
What would you do if you could do ANYTHING with your life and money was NO object? Ever since Jessica was a little girl, she dreamed of being a mommy, a wife, a teacher, and a writer. In 1995 her wedded dream came when Jesus Himself introduced her to her now husband Jeff. Together Jeff and Jessica have 5 children and Jessica writes and blogs daily in the hope that someone will be blessed by the Lord, in the same direct and relevant way that she has been. Jessica teaches and believes that an intense and personal relationship with Jesus IS all that you need, and that the Bible is the key to unlocking that intensity for Christ that you have always dreamed of having.
You can keep in touch with Jessica and Wholehearted Minisrties at wholeheartedministries.com, on twitter, via facebook, through email subscription to articles, and directly through email at email@example.com. Thank you for your support!