It seems like an awful lot of toxic theology comes my way, and lately there's been a real spate of blogs and posts that seem to imply that unconditional love means taking whatever abuse comes your way.
"Jesus did it, so should we," the logic goes.
If someone can find me a church blog that tells men to just take whatever abuse comes to them, please pass it along. But I don't see that narrative being much advanced.
I think maybe it's because men are doing the abusing and men are running the churches. I wish I didn't sound so paranoid, but it's starting to look like a pattern from where I sit.
At any rate, in one of my Facebook groups, we got to talking about what unconditional love actually means, if not going back to get your lights punched out time and time again.
I think there are two main points we must keep in mind.
ONE: I AM NOT THE SOURCE OF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, SO IT'S NOT UP TO ME TO SUPPLY LOVE TO EVERY ABUSIVE PERSON ON THE PLANET.
Unconditional Love means that every human being is inherently precious and valuable.
**Yes, even the abusers. God loves them too. Which just proves that you really don't want me to be the source of unconditional Love because I just don't have it in me. Anything I'd give to the abusers would be pure pretend, and I think they need better than that. They need real, healing Love. So let's just accept that God gets to be in charge of that and wish them well.**
Because I'm not the source of unconditional Love, however, I am not required to be close to people who are abusive, unpleasant, or in any way toxic to me.
I can still accept that the person is precious and valuable, and probably doing the best that they can, while I remove myself from toxic situations.
Unconditional Love will still be available to that person, even when I am not.
TWO: I AM INCLUDED IN UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, SO I GET TO RECEIVE LOVE JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.
Because I am included in unconditional Love, that Love does not allow others to abuse or harm me.
Unconditional Love must include love FOR ME just like everyone else, otherwise it's a very limited, seriously conditional sort of love.
Unconditional Love does not condone abuse FOR ME, just like unconditional Love does not condone abuse for anyone else.
(Those of us who grew up in abusive systems will have a hard time believing that unconditional Love includes us, but sit with it a while.)
Because the other person is included in love,
even while they are being toxic to me,
I can do what is healthy for myself
while trusting that Love will do what is best for that person as well.
Unconditional Love does not depend on me, and unconditional Love always includes me.
Be well and whole, my friends, and free indeed.