“Hey Angels, you suck!” The Detroit Tigers baseball fan leaned over the metal bar separating him from the lush green of the brightly lit field, his jeers hurled like stones at the visiting team, the Anaheim Angels.
On a crazy whim yesterday, Studhubs and I flew out to Detroit to go support our friend who plays baseball in Los Angeles. And of course, you'd expect opposing fans to scream and jeer, unfortunately, even at an early age of 6. You expect them to support their team with fierce loyalty, chants and cheers.
But then, the Detroit Tigers pitcher Porcello started to, well, in the kindest words….perform under par. Angel after Angel came up to bat, and Angel after Angel not only got on base, but stomped on the home plate as points flew up on the board faster than a fast ball. (I sound like I know what I'm talking about don't I? Don't let a few sentences deceive you. I still refer to points as touchdowns from time to time).
And then, the stadium winds changed.
A sea of orange and navy who had screamed at the Angels in disgust, some even so loyal they paid money to sport a Porcello jersey, began to pour loud “Boo's” onto the field with anger and contempt. One minute they loved him so much they wore his name, but watch out. The second he messed up–they turned their stones, usually aimed at the opposing team, and threw them at the ones they “loved.”
Interesting kind of love, isn't it?
The world's definition of love is set up on the foundation of condition.
IF you look like this, I will be attracted to you. IF you stay looking like that, I will stay married to you.
IF you are in a certain social class, we can hang out.
IF you have a certain degree, we will hire you.
If, if, if, if.
But love–TRUE LOVE—is without condition. True love goes forward when someone is at their lowest, not backs away. True love loves simply for the sake of loving–and not what they can get from it.
I wonder what would happen if an entire stadium of fans would rally AROUND someone having a bad game? I wonder what would happen if they encouraged instead of shamed—lifted them up instead of pushed them down–believed in them instead of doubted?
When God encourages me, my shame breaks and He empowers me to become the best version of myself.
When God lifts me up to the fullness of His promises, He reminds me that He's already taken care of my failures on the cross.
When God believes in me, I can't help but believe in myself.
And who doesn't want to be loved like that?
Are you putting a conditional system onto your love? Are you loving others for what they can give to you, or is it contingent on how well they perform?
We're only able to give what we have received, which is why it's so important to receive the unconditional love of Father EVERY day! It's abundant, never ending, and always overflowing.
Receive His unconditional love for you–that loves simply to love–and I promise you, you'll have an abundance to give away.
Even to your local baseball team.