Chasing Tenderness: Unconditional Love in a Conditional World

Happy National Coffee Day to all of you! This is my favorite day of the year, other than National Dress Day, for it is the day where I drink as much coffee as I want without anyone saying anything, and it is the day where I can thank the Lord for creating coffee beans. Therefore, here is to good coffee, which coffee is always a good idea no matter what time of day it is.

My title might be confusing, but by the end, it’ll come together, hopefully, but this is a message that has been on my heart for so long, that I finally put it into words.

As each day goes by, I am a woman who wants to be tender, soft, and gentle to each person I see, because everyone around me has a story. I might not know what that is, but I do know that each person that is breathing, living, and going through the motions has a story, and so I want to be a person to breathe tenderness into their lives, because Christ did the same thing for me when He was on the cross dying for my sins.

My sin placed Christ on the cross, yet He was tender to me and died for me, and my shame made Christ subjected to mockery, yet He was graceful to me.

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

I wasn’t worthy, I didn’t deserve grace, but He still was tender to me, so if Christ can be loving, tender, and graceful to us, then we should be like Christ and be tender and forgiving to others. However, in the world we live in today, many people run away when things become difficult or they run away when people have pasts or stories, which I view as wrong, nor is that showing unconditional love.

In the world we live in, people decide to run away when a person is in tough things or, as mentioned, has a story, but I want to be the person who stays, I want to be a person who will listen without shutting their ears, and I want to be a person who someone can trust, because Christ did not run from me; instead, He died for me. We live in a world where if someone does you wrong, you cut them out, you burn bridges, and you don’t look back, but I want to believe in grace, mercy, and again, tenderness.

I believe in re-building a bridge even if rebuilding takes time, I believe in looking at someone at how Christ views them, and I will forever believe that one should be kind, gentle, and graceful to each person for people go through things, people fight unknown battles, and though a person might be smiling, they might be crying underneath.

“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Colossians 4:6

My mission statement of my life has become “breathe in Jesus, exhale grace” with the addition of being a tender woman who is soft and has a speech that is seasoned. There is a reason why the Lord says a soft answer turns away wrath, and there is a reason why the Lord tells us to have seasoned speech, for Christ displayed such things for us as He hung on a cross, for though grace was undeserved, He gave it to us anyways rather than giving us the harshness of wrath.

With that being said, even if tenderness isn’t deserved, we should give it anyways. I want to be a woman who will grab someone’s hand and uplift them to continue to walk the narrow path even if they feel too weak too, because love is unconditionally, love knows no bounds, and love never fails.

The thing about grace is that though it is undeserved, it is still given to us, and that is what I want to be to others. Even if they do not deserve grace, I don’t want to run, but instead, I want to take their hand, look them in in the eye, and say, “Let me pray with you.” When one is weak, I want to lift them up, and when one is not deserving, I still want to show them that same love and forgiveness Christ showed me, for I want them to continue to see their need for Christ.

As I was reading the other day, I stumbled upon an amazing quote that goes along with the topic of tenderness, but it is a quote that goes along the lines of marriage, but even so, it is a main point I want in a future marriage, for it’s goal is tenderness, mercy, and compassion, and I will forever love these words:

““How would you ever learn unconditional love if you were married to someone who met all the conditions? How would you ever learn mercy, patience, long-suffering, heartfelt compassion if you were married to someone who never failed you, who was never difficult with you, who never sinned against you, who was never slow to acknowledge their sin or ask for forgiveness? How would you ever learn grace to pour out your favor on someone who did not deserve it if you were married to someone who was always deserving of all good things?

The main purpose of marriage is that, through your marriage, you become conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Marriage, I believe, is the greatest instrument of sanctification.”  Paul Washer

Those words are the words that sum up how I view marriage, they are the words that summarize my feelings of love, and when I read that the other day, I instantly felt a jump in my soul because that is what I yearn for; to be married to a man who does not met all the conditions so that I can learn unconditional love and expound on tenderness.

However, society wants to be with people who meet all the conditions, who will never do us wrong, who will never be difficult, and who will never fail us, but that’s how we become shut down to tenderness, because when we have built up this idea of conditional love that focuses around those who are “worthy” “perfect,” or “conditioned,” we forget the entire basis of unconditional love.

How will we ever learn to be compassionate or tender if a person never fails us? How will we ever learn to love like Christ if the person we are married to is always deserving of it? How will we ever learn to pour out grace if we never have to apply it?

In the end, perfectionism is invalid and no one can meet all the conditions. If that were so, then Christ would not of had to die such a gruesome death for us, and that is why I made tenderness such an important part of my life, for if I want to love unconditionally, I must understand that no one meets all the conditions.

Therefore, I want to show tenderness in the lives of all people, I want to be tender to people’s stories, and I want to love unconditionally, for unconditional love has no end, it has no stipulations, and it loves through the fire and comes out on the other side unscathed.

As Paul Washer stated, I view this way about marriage too.

I might be a single woman, and I might not know what it’s like to be married, but I do know one thing is for certain, and that is my future husband will fail me at times, he will not met all the conditions, he will hurt me unaware, and he will not be perfect, because if my future husband can fall short of God’s glory, which he will, then what makes me think he won’t fail me? 

“For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

However, through the imperfections of my future husband I will learn unconditional love, I will learn how to be more tender, I will learn how to pour out grace, I will learn how to be more soft, and I will learn how to be more like Christ, and I am so thankful for imperfections in that regard, because though pain comes in the night, joy comes in the morning, and through a person’s story of brokenness, I shall learn unconditional love.

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, I want my life to be a testament of tenderness and gentleness. It might not be the common way of living, but it is the way I want to live, because if I want to be a woman who bloom’s with grace, I must live in grace, I must exhale grace, I must radiate Christ, and I must do what Christ did and that is love unconditionally.

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