One of the hardest things we have to learn as Believers is how to love people with no strings attached.
It's hard to love people when they don't love you back. It's hard to love people even when they desert you. It's really hard loving the gossips and slanderers without giving them an evil eye and hating them in your heart. And it's hard to love the people who use you for their own gain without storing up rage in your heart.
Loving these people requires a "Jesus kind of love."
Jesus loved the people and even His enemies with no strings attached. He didn't require them to wash His feet. He didn't force anyone to follow Him. He didn't hate them in His heart when they nailed His hands and feet to a cross.
At one point, thousands of people left Jesus's ministry because His preaching got too hard for them to accept. (John 6:66)
But Jesus didn't get mad and think "you people owe me! I healed you! I fed you! I delivered you!" He let them go and celebrated the ones who stayed. Jesus wants willing followers. He wants us to know that He will love us, even if we walk away for a season. He also wants us to love others like that!
Jesus didn't demand honor like the Sanhedrin did. Instead, Jesus knelt down in love and honored his friends by washing their feet....even ones He knew were fair weather friends. Peter still got his feet washed by Jesus, the night Peter betrayed Him, no strings attached.
Jesus loves you right where you are at. He may not be pleased with everything that you are doing - but you are free to sin or not. Even then, you cannot make Jesus not love you.
As Believers, we are called to become like Christ. We are called to love as He did... this means we love others without expecting anything in return.
If people want to walk away from a relationship with us, we let them go, and we do not demand that they stay. We put the relationship in the hands of grace, and we allow the other person to have free will
(even if those people are family members).
We lay down our hurt, forgive them, and let them go. Pride demands an answer or an apology. Humility says they owe you nothing.
When people who have hurt you, come back and truly repent - love opens an avenue to restoration. Jesus gently restored Peter after he fell. And 50 days later 3000 people gave their lives to Christ because of Peter.
The prodigal son's father had no strings attached. The prodigal still paid a price because he had already spent his inheritance. But his father RAN out to meet him, an example of our Heavenly Father's love.
The brother of the prodigal had strings attached to his love. He demanded his own kind of justice. But that is not the way of Jesus and therefore, it cannot be our way either.
Perfect love casts out fear because there are no strings attached. Jesus's kind of love is without condition. Now that doesn't mean we don't use wisdom and it doesn't mean we are doormats, Jesus certainly wasn't. But we allow people to come and go in our lives without forcing or demanding anything.
The gift of salvation is free. Once you come into the family of God, you are IN! You are loved. Perfection is not demanded.
As the Body of Christ, we must mature in our love for each other. The Kingdom of God is not a kingdom of slavery... it is a Kingdom of Sons! We are free to walk out our own salvation with fear and trembling...
Since we have been loved with an unconditional love from our Creator... how can we truly be His children and not walk in His ways.
We love... because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Steps to Wholeness:
If you need to lay a person or group down because you are demanding justice in your heart, don't be afraid of approaching the throne! God wants to help you to love with no strings attached. He wants to give you unconditional love for others.
Ask the Holy Spirit if there is anyone you need to put in the Hands of Grace?
One by one hand forgive them and hand them over to Jesus.
Then get on with whatever God has called you to do. Life is too short to worry about someone who "owes" you.
We'll all be completely free one day in eternity... if you have to let go of a relationship until then, so be it. You've got a race to run and talents to gain for the Lord!