Lord, you showed favor to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave your people’s guilt;
you covered all their sin. Selah
You withdrew all your fury;
you turned from your burning anger.
Return to us, God of our salvation,
and abandon your displeasure with us.
Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger for all generations?
Will you not revive us again
so that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your faithful love, Lord,
and give us your salvation.
Psalm 85:1-7 (CSB)
“How many times have I told you?”
“Why should I believe you when you’ve said the same thing before?”
“Don’t you remember how nice I was to you today? And then you do this?”
“I’m done! I mean it. This is it. I can’t take anymore.”
I’ve said these words. I’ve said them so many times I couldn’t begin to keep track of their frequency, much less their effectiveness. For all their use, you might assume they must do the job. Those searing sentences must cut their recipients to the quick, poking them right in the conscience, right in the deepest part of their hearts. Clearly my word-arrows strike their targets and initiate repentance and change.
Right? Not so much.
Over the past few years, I’ve realized that I am guilty of loving conditionally. As my daughters have grown older and my marriage has grown stronger, I’ve been forced to face some of the challenges I bring to my most dear relationships — and one of the biggest is the ball of strings I have tied to my love.
Perhaps you’ve struggled with this, too. Maybe you also want every advantage of God’s unconditional love but are reluctant to offer that same gift to others. That realization stings, doesn’t it?
Looking in the mirror is hard, friend. It’s hard when our jeans are tight or our face breaks out, and it’s hard when our sinful nature slips through the cracks. It’s hard when we see the expectations we place on people we call beloved, when we see the score sheet we keep against the very people on our team, and it’s hard when we realize how far short our love falls from the love our Father gives us so freely.
In Psalm 85, the author is begging God for forgiveness, for another chance, for one more redemption story. He’s remembering all the times God has forgiven His people completely, and he’s believing that God will do it once again. And He will. He promises that. Our God is faithful, just as the psalmist says. He will forgive us every time because all our sins have already been paid for by Jesus. No more debt to pay. And no matter what, He will love us with an unfailing love. No strings attached.
As we journey to the cross together, I am overwhelmingly thankful for God’s faithful love and the example He gives us in loving unconditionally. When I read through the Old Testament and into the Psalms, I can’t help shake my head at the Israelites. Those fickle, faithless Israelites . . . who . . . just might have more in common with me than I want to admit. Yet, because of Christ, God never shakes His head at me. He never shouts in exasperation, “How many times have I told you?” And He never, ever says, “I’m done.” Let us thank God for His faithful love — and ask Him to teach us to love faithfully too.
Dear God, thank You for loving so much better than I do. Thank You for being faithful to offer me grace and forgiveness, to love me unconditionally even when I don’t deserve it. Please help me love others the same way, Lord. Help me be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Help me see with Your eyes and love with Your love, no strings attached. Thank You, God. I love You. Amen.
Excerpt from Journey to the Cross: Forty Days to Prepare Your Heart for Easter by Mary Carver.
How can we pray for you?
Perhaps God is bringing to mind the ways you’ve been conditional with your love or forgiveness. Let’s bring our honest selves before God and ask for help and grace as we learn to love others and ourselves better. Share a prayer or prayer request below, and then pray for the person who commented before you.Leave a Comment
Thank you for this reminder, I too have said those words to the ones I hold dear and yes it doesn’t “help”. God help us to stand stronger in You instead of lashing out-even when we didn’t mean to lash out: that is what it is, and help us to love unconditionally.It is also a struggle to not “keep score” in relationships that are/were friendships when others don’t make the effort. Thank you for your boldness and encouragement. I enjoy reading your writing Mary, thank you for sharing your heart with us.
Karen Worley says
Please pray for the salvation of my 3 adult children, Jesse, Brad and Brook, the last 2 need deliverence from drugs, and protection for my 2 granddaughters, Amirah 4,Ariana 1 who the other grandmother (not a Christian) will not let me see over the last year…
Praying now Karen God to break the chains and deliver salvation.. may He pierce the heart of the other grandmother and she realize the love of Him and of you.. blessings, stay Jesus Strong ❣️
Beth Williams says
Abba Father, Please deliver Brad & Brooke from the evils of drugs. Open their eyes & hearts to your love. Watch over the two grandchildren. Keep them safe & allow Karen to see them soon. Help all three children to come to a repentance. May they hear of your love & grace. Bless this family & bring a peace that only you can.
Blessings dear Mary ❣️ This rings true but that I keep those thoughts in my head and they are mostly about myself:( I am the hardest on me and all those who disappoint me I stay arms length away and rather keep my thoughts to my self. I know what I was like before Christ Jesus and I never want to go back there.
It’s tiring talking to myself this way when I fail at my own actions but it’s a freeing word today and I thank you for them❣️Unfailing love ❤️ Praise Him with y’all today
Please help me pray for a co-worker and friend whose personal life- plagued by challenges -has spilled over and affected our work place causing fractured relationships- broken trust and hurt feelings. My job is to bring the parties back together and I need prayers for wisdom and guidance to help being the team back together and prayers for healing to begin.
Thank you for lifting up these intentions.
Beth Williams says
Help Linda’s co-worker with the challenges he/she is facing. Give Linda wisdom & guidance to handle this situation & bring everyone back together. Give that workplace a sense of peace & comfort that only you can bring.
Linda.. use the Peacemakers book by Ken Sande! It’s about relational wisdom, personal and corporate.. also use app Relational Wisdom 360(RW360.”org) Peace and healing for all of you
Janet Williams says
Thank you and Amen \0/
Linda, I am praying for your co-worker. I pray for healing and compassion in the workplace
Have a blessed God -filled day sisters xoxo
Linda I pray that God will provide wisdom and guidance. May He speak through you to bring healing and mend relationships. I pray for God’s peace in this situation. I ask for prayers for me to continue to trust God and resist Satan.
This is so timely! Just got into a big fight with my 18 year old about a lie. I need to forgive her and ask for forgiveness! I need to remember what my Lord and savior did for me. Forgive her and ask her to forgive me. Oh lord bring healing to my relationship with my daughter! Forgive me! Help me Lord to forgive me. Sooth my broken heart.
Praying for you ❤️
Please pray that my faith does not fail. That I continue to trust in God and do His will. Thank you! ❤️
Francee Strain says
Praying for you, Stephanie.
Be strong in the LORD and the power of His might. I pray that you (and all of us) will delight to do His will and be faithful to the end.
Janet Williams says
Prayer request just in…
Please pray for my friend Teri’s granddaughter. She has been diagnosed with leukemia. She is only 4
Thank you. Thank you
God you know all about this 4 year olds condition.. you created her in her mother’s womb.. dear Lord have mercy and grace on her little body and make her an instrument of your peace and your love., healing her and showing yourself to those who are in her life and those in the medical community.. in praise we give you the glory Christ Jesus ❤️
Theresa Boedeker says
Love with strings attached, that was my childhood. But it also taught me that I wanted a different way for my children. While there have been strings attached to my relationships, by God’s grace they are fewer. I find the strings are sometimes more internal, and not said, then external, and said. Both need to be eliminated, though. So glad God does not love us that way at all. He is love and more love. Let us love with no strings attached. And keep loving without strings, even when others love us with strings attached.
Praying for a generational healing of addiction
Beth Williams says
We tend to put stipulations on relationships. I will only love/like you if you… Problem is we are all imperfect human beings. We mess up ourselves. So how can we expect others to behave perfectly? We fail God all the time. I know I do. I pray asking forgiveness & He does so willingly. We need to teach ourselves to love like that. No strings attached. Let’s show this world more of God’s love by willingly forgiving each other & getting rid of all strings.
I just am in need of loving arms around me a real big holy hug.
I do not have people who I easily can ask for a hug beside the fact I am highly sensitive too smell, touch, etc it doesn’ t make it easy for me to ask and actually get a good hug while feeling safe.
Prayer for a Good Holy Father/Mother Love Hug.
Greetings and Blessings.
I love hugging people and so I am sending you a hug through this reply.
Hugging is such a great feeling but since COVID-19 started we have been limited in giving hugs. I pray that God wraps His loving arms around you and gives you grace love peace healing or whatever you are in need of. Praying for you.
My family (brother and sisters) have had a disagreement over property which one felt it was owed to them to have it. It has split our family and it’s breaking my heart. I need prayer and guidance for the future in how to deal with this situation. I do love all my family but it’s hard to make decisions when you have a big family someone always gets hurt.
Myra Basco says
A long time ago God gave me a lesson to teach to my ladies group on unconditional love. It was about seeing everyone as Jesus would, seeing them through His eyes. He doesn’t see the dirty alcoholic, drug user, prostitute, gambler, you see what this was about. He see’s someome hurting that is searching for love and help. He came to give us that help, each of us. I have to reach out daily for His help. My load gets heavy. I have an alcoholic son. He has been in liver failure twice and still drinking. Without His love, Grace. Mercy, Longsuffering, Unconditional love none of us could stand. We are here to help one another and these comments and prayers are proof He has a group of strong women standing in the gap for many souls. May He bless you all daily.
Thank you so much for your replay.
I will Pray for you & your family!
Ecclesiastes 5 whole chapter.