On this day that society encourages us to celebrate “love” through cards, candy, jewelry, and special dinners…I am so grateful God spoke to me continually as to what the love of Jesus really looks like. His kind of love truly is worth celebrating – every day! This revelation brought lots of conviction and repentance. It is a truth that is difficult to walk out because my flesh gets in the way so often. But what God is showing me is that it’s not that love doesn’t have expectations of others. Jesus Himself set the relational standard pretty high when He told us, ” ‘Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you’ “ (Matthew 7:12 – The “Golden Rule”). So human nature would be tempted to think, “Well, I did this good thing for them, so they should return the favor.” All throughout the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John), Jesus does indeed give us a clear picture of what we should expect in relationships. Expectations keep us accountable, and often challenge us to walk in our God-given roles. However, the key is that while even Jesus has high expectations of us, His love is NEVER conditional as to whether or not we meet His expectations. He is fully aware that we are flesh, and we will fall short of His standard (expectations). He loves us anyway, and He doesn’t take offense or get hurt when we miss the mark…which we often do unintentionally. This is also the case many times in human-to-human relationships – unintentional falling short of anothers’ valid expectations. Jesus doesn’t dwell on the unmet expectations. I imagine most of our relationships** would be vastly improved if we could do the same…consistently apply the “Golden Rule of Love” so to speak: “I have expectations of you in this relationship, yet my love for you is not conditional to your meeting those expectations. So as I love you, I would like for you to love me in the same way…”
** This is not including abusive relationships. Love does not mean you should stay in a situation that would an enable an abuser to continue deliberately causing further harm.