Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

No-Strings-Attached Love

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

No-Strings-Attached Love

Article excerpt

When I was growing up, my family didn't have money for much more than necessities. Modest presents appeared on holidays, but we never received gifts without a reason.

Except once.

I got my first bicycle one late spring day, a day I'll always remember - not just because I loved the bike (I did), but because it came with no obligation on my parents' part and no expectation on mine.

I was given so much more than a shiny blue two-wheeler that day. This surprise gift brought with it a sweet, sure sense of love that has long outlasted the bike. It was an unforgettable feeling.

For a long time, I looked for ways to recapture the heart- gladdening effect of knowing I'm loved without condition or limit. The hunt for a person, circumstance, or object never satisfied this longing. It was tempting to accept the common view that good is intermittent and unreliable, and that we'll be happiest if our expectations are low.

Then a Bible verse caught my attention. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above," states the book of James, "and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (1:17).

Pondering these words, I realized that I already knew the source of the joy and confidence I was seeking. It was the love of my divine Parent, God.

God is the ultimate source of no-strings-attached love. And His gifts to us are spiritual in nature because He is Spirit, dependable because He is Principle. The Bible describes many of these gifts, including dominion, eternal life, salvation, and grace.

This doesn't mean that we can't enjoy things like bicycles. God's giving doesn't take the form of material objects, but understanding His boundless goodness meets specific needs of all kinds.

Here's an example. A prayerful friend of mine who is a musician and a prayerful man took exception to the widespread expectation that artists by nature struggle financially. …

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