Withholding Love

How do you know when God’s trying to tell you something? Possibly He brings up a particular subject through a Bible verse, sermon, book, conversation over and over again. You realize then that God is asking you to look more closely at the recurring theme. This happened again last week.

First I stumbled on 2 Corinthians 6:12.

Paul writes:

We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us.

Then a blog post by Tim Challies caught my attention: 'Kindness that Comes Too Late', which I highly encourage you to read at: https://www.challies.com/articles/kindness-that-comes-too-late/

And last Sunday the sermon was on God’s Tenacious Love towards David even after a series of bad choices.

Yes, God, I’m paying attention.

Searching my heart is uncomfortable, difficult, and easy to leave for another day. You can’t dig in dark corners and not find dirt. And then you can no longer claim ignorance. The longer you choose to ignore it, the more dirt piles up until it seeps out the edges becoming obvious to everyone but you.

The question was and is: Do I withhold my love?

When my husband annoys me.

When my children disobey me.

When my family criticizes me.

When my friends fail me.

When my church offends me.

Do I retaliate and withhold my affection? Do I allow my love and affection to flow freely even when I disagree with others? Or is my love contingent on their behaviour? Do my loved ones receive the 'silent treatment' when I am not getting what I want from them? Is my love generous only when my needs and wants are being met?

1 John 3:1 'See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God!"

The word "lavish" means: to bestow something in generous or extravagant quantities upon. Its origins are in the Old French word "lavasse" - deluge of rain. Essentially we are washed and drenched in God's love, an image that leaves little room in my mind to imagine God giving the silent treatment. I am washed in His love even when I fail. I am drenched in His love even when I disappoint Him. I am the recipient of extravagant love though I am not all that I should be.

God does not withhold His love from me EVER, and that means I stand in no position to do any differently.

Sometimes the truth is painful, but it always sets you free.