Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18
Last night I attended a wedding.
Standing in the receiving line I wondered whether the couple really understood the vows they had just made. They promised they would be faithful to each other "in sickness and health, through good times and bad, as long as they both should live."
Waiting in line I remembered a story I heard years ago. The story begins with a young lady asking her suitor, "Will you love me even when I get old and wrinkled?"
"Surely, darling," he answered. "You know I love you with a love that cannot fade with time. My love can only grow with time's swift passage. I worship everything about you . . . um . . . you won't ever look like your mother, will you?"
Most brides and grooms profess true and undying love for each other.
Unfortunately, most of them, somewhere in the back of their minds, seem to have an escape clause or two. They secretly say to themselves, "Yes, I will love you as long as you don't . . . " and then they fill in the blank. They put conditions on their faithfulness, their future, and their love.
Thankfully, God doesn't love that way. There are no conditions on His love. In the person of Jesus Christ we see the Lord loves us no matter what we do wrong. He loves us and says, "Come to Me in repentance since I have -- because of My Son's sacrifice and because of His innocent suffering and death -- already forgiven you gladly and completely."
That's the way I hope this couple loves, too. I'll keep them in my prayers.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for the sending of Your Son. Your gift of grace as shown by His suffering, death, and resurrection shows that You have loved me and all of sinful humanity unconditionally. Now may I reflect Your love to others. In the Name of my Savior I ask this. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries