Is it possible, to love unconditionally? With no strings attached? Or even sacrificially? That it costs so much it actually hurts? I mean, we all know of God’s sacrificial, unconditional love…but as we try to become more like Jesus, are we able to love like him?
I think we can.
I learned this lesson last year from a 11-year-old in Mamelodi (a Township in Pretoria, South Africa).
For many years myself and a bunch of other volunteers have reached out to young people every Friday from disadvantaged backgrounds through sport (mainly soccer). One day as we arrived at the park (where we usually play), we saw a bunch of noisy kids surrounding something or someone. I tried to get their attention—without success. So I went there and pushed myself through, in the middle was a young white boy trying to make some friends (this was an extremely unusual situation as there are mainly black kids in the townships).
I talked to Weinard (that was his name) he lived in the inner-city but ran away from home. I tried to convince him to go back or to let me help him, but he refused. Discouraged I continued with the soccer-training.
Suddenly one of our boys (his name is “Surprise”) stopped me and said: “Alex, I need to ask you something. Weinard is staying with me for two day’s now, because you challenged us to love each other. But my family is not happy and my friends give me a hard time as well. What can I do now?”
Totally astonished and touched I said, “You’re doing the right thing; even though it’s very hard, continue showing God’s love.” And he did. Eventually Weinard left one day and sadly we never heard of him again.
But Surprise taught me an important lesson:
He showed Weinard God’s love, even though he didn’t have much money and people around him weren’t happy. In fact, most people gave him a hard time. The bottom line is it wasn’t easy for him, but he did it!
Youth leaders like you love our Jesus-centered resources
Take some time and think about the following questions:
*How often do you keep God’s unconditional love from someone?
*Are you willing to pay the cost in order to share God’s unconditional love?
*Whom should you reach out to with God’s love?
*What is holding you back to love unconditionally?