“In my opinions, we express unconditional love only when we acknowledge that we are the recipients of that brand of love from God. Freely we have received, and freely we must give. We must forget forever the word deserve in association with love.”- Dr. Charles F. Stanley
In Chapter 19 (“A Need for You to Meet”) of Can You Still Trust God?, Dr. Charles Stanley presents six hallmarks to express unconditional love for others in the context of the parable of the loving father (aka prodigal son).
1. Acceptance. Just as the loving father ran to his son on sight, the movement to another signals acceptance. Although acceptance manifests itself in many ways, it mostly involves asking another person to come with you. Above all, when you accept another person, you treat them just as you treat yourself. Accept the person just as he/she is.
2. Touch. The sense of touch relates powerfully to emotional well-being and mental health. In addition, touching a person affirms dignity and self-worth. Be willing to touch others with the love of Christ.
3. Time. The loving father took time to listen to his son. And our heavenly Father’s available to you at all times. Above all, if you desire to spend time with Him, He’ll spend time with you. Therefore, take time to really listen to people. Hear them and don’t sell them short. Most significantly, offer your presence.
4. Gifts. Whatever the cost, gifts must come from the heart. Because that shows you took time and interest to give something appropriate.
5. Words of encouragement. Your heavenly Father speaks words of encouragement to you. Therefore, put your love into words of encouragement today.
6. Acts of service. Dr. Stanley defines a true act of service as anticipating a need and then acting to fill it. Without being asked. Finally, the author asks, are you willing to intercede in prayer for another until God supplies the answer?
Today’s question: How do you express unconditional love? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: the annotated bibliography of Can You Still Trust God?