Unreciprocated Love

Relationships are hard… all of them. Whether you are a parent, child, sibling, cousin, spouse, co-worker, or friend, your relationships are always going to be a 2-way street. The problem is, you can’t control which direction that other person is driving in or even if they have their sense about them when they’re behind the wheel! You may try your best, serve in selflessness, and love unconditionally, but in the end it takes two to tango and if the other person doesn’t want to put forth the effort, then the relationship will suffer. That sounds like a bunch of pseudo-psychological gander babble doesn’t it? It’s all true though, whether we like it or not.

God has shown me a little about my personal life regarding this very thing- in the arena of friendships. You see, we may do everything we can to reach out and love on/lift others up but there is no promise of that philia-love being reciprocated. While this has always bothered me in the past, and while I still believe it is extremely important to have other believers walk alongside us in friendship, I now realize that determining to continue loving and being a friend to those that may not return the favor, is walking just as Christ did. Think about it- Jesus had His followers and several of them He considered very close and dear friends. However, He knew and experienced the epitome of unreciprocated love as even His disciples abandoned Him in His hour of need and as the world that He came to die for, turned its back on His grace.

There still may be a very real desire to have a strong bond with someone but if that feeling is not mutual, we never need to feel abandoned and hurt. Our emotions may be rubbed a little raw (we are human, aren’t we?) but we are rarely more like Christ than when we choose to love and truly seek the well-being of those who do not show us the same love in return. Can we possibly find joy in the fact that this is a small example of suffering for Christ? We have such freedom to share the love of Christ with others in America (for now)… do we really want to decide not to pursue that gift just because someone didn’t “like us back”? If you smile and ask how someone’s day is going, and they look right through you, don’t be discouraged. Simply smile, keep walking, and the next time you see them- ask them again! Easier said than done? Not really. It only takes a decision to ignore unreciprocated love and love no matter the outcome- because that is EXACTLY what Christ did.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. 

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Romans 12:9-21)

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