"IF" is a big word. I have often said: "If is the largest two letter word in the English language."
One thing I have struggled with my entire life is feeling loved and accepted by others - especially my peers. I know that others struggle with this as well. I believe that our society is so "self esteem" focused because, subconsciously, we recognize that we are fallen creatures and not "worthy" of love. So, we proclaim (loudly) that we are good and that we are worthy of all sorts of honors. I believe that we do this because we (secretly) suspect that we are not lovable. We work hard to earn the love and respect and acceptance of others because we need that affirmation that comes from love and respect.
The problem is that the world (and most of us if we are honest) say: "I will love you if...." "I will love you if you are strong enough, good enough, smart enough, good looking enough, rich enough, work hard enough, etc."
We waste a lot of our resources trying to get past "if." As a society, we spend untold millions on cosmetics and surgery trying to get "good looking enough." We spend more time at the office trying to get "rich/successful enough." We all spend too much on "stuff" trying to win the approval of either ourselves or of others. We hope the stuff will fill the void left by "I will love you if."
The problem is that we are trying to fill a hole that only God can fill.
So, what is the solution? The solution is staring us in the heart. It is to surrender to God and not seek affirmation elsewhere. We need to learn and trust (=faith) that God loves us. God does not love us "if." He simply loves us. God does not love use because of what we are or what we do or have done or will do. He simply loves us.
If the Creator of the Universe (who knows us better than we know ourselves) loves us and believes that we are worth dying for, then what does it matter what others think of us? If we know, both in our hearts and in our heads, that we are loved, then "if" becomes meaningless.
The path to knowing yourself and loving yourself is knowing God and being loved by God. The path to loving others without "if" is to know that God loves them (and you) without "if" and to ask God to help you get past "if" in your life.
Now, God loves us as we are. But the Love of God is not unconditional. Accepting God's love means accepting the New Life that comes with God's love. It means being transformed and changed. It means surrendering to God. It means that we will be killed and raised to new life.
Knowing and accepting Gods Love is the most challenging and frightening prospect I can think of.
It is also the only choice we can make if we want peace in our lives. If we want to be free of "if" and free to love ourselves and others in a way that doesn't depend on "if," then we need to respond to God's love in faith and ask to be changed - ask to be transformed - ask for help surrendering and ask to be killed so that we can be raised in New Life.
Are you ready to leave “If” behind?