image © Sherri Robbins
It’s February… the month of love.
While so many people focus on plans and gifts for Valentine’s Day, I can’t help but think about learning how to have healthy relationships and to love my family unconditionally. Unfortunately, from early childhood, I was taught that love is conditional.
From the time I was a young child and into adulthood, both my parents withdrew from me when I did not meet their expectations. Yes, my mother threatened to sue me when I let her down and I have gotten hate mail from my father, but I understand why they did it. Their dysfunctional childhood years taught them how to push people away when things don’t go the way they envision.
We are all narcissistic by nature and many of us don’t know how to change. Broken relationships all over our world are evidence of this. Our presuppositions of others and tendencies toward making things about ourselves originate from our past relational wounds. Because we don’t learn unconditional love as children, it affects the way we love as adults. I wasn’t shown how to love my husband and kids, but I’m determined to learn how. Do I fail? Yes I do, but I continue to come back to the one who can show me how, God.
So my challenge this month is for each of us to focus on our relationships. What past hurts are preventing us from having healthy relationships now? Who do we need to forgive? What behaviors and thought patterns do we need to change in ourselves? Have we strayed from the One who is our example of unconditional love?
Work on your relationships, seek counseling if you need it, and this just might be the best Valentine’s Day ever!
“Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to do both.”
( 1 John 4:21b MSG)