12 Reasons for Love-No-Matter-What

The best time to express your unconditional love.

Mitch was only in his mid-twenties, but he confidently and warmly welcomed the congregation at a large local church we attended where he was a new pastor. Lynne and I knew his family, and reflected back to when he wasn’t quite so confident! 

Years ago,Andy, Mitch’s high-powered executive dad, had been pretty determined to deal firmly with Mitch’s predictable avoidance and meltdowns over his 6th grade math homework. When Andy asked me for advice, he was quite skeptical of the suggestion to express love-no-matter-what when Mitch was upset and resisting math. “That’ll just make him think it’s okay – and it’s not,” Andy protested. 

It was clear to Andy that things were getting worse, not better, with his firm approach, so he decided to give love-no-matter-what a try. (The full story is on pages 91-93 of our book Discipline that Connects With Your Child’s Heart.) The next time Mitch began to get upset over math, Andy very sincerely expressed his unconditional love, no matter how math might go that night. Mitch sobbed in relief as his dad hugged him. They began to work as a team, and Mitch began to feel successful at math for the first time. The story concludes with, “He’s a different kid. And I have to admit, I’m a different dad.”

Many years later, during our conversation after the church service, Mitch shared with us, “I don’t remember that math incident, but I do remember how whenever something was hard for me, dad would remind me that his love for me was absolutely unrelated to how well I did. I told him once, when I was in seminary, about a class that was really challenging. My dad told me, ‘Remember son, we’ve all got different gifts and challenges, and your value and God’s purposes don’t change because this is hard. You’ll get through it.’”

Mitch revealed that indeed Andy had become a different dad through the concept of “You are LOVED no matter what.”

Mitch revealed that indeed Andy had become a different dad through the concept of “You are LOVED no matter what.”

Since our ministry is now 17 years old, it’s a joy to hear back from some of the early families we worked with, and see the long-term fruit of principles from the Connected Families framework. Mitch is a confident, caring young man who loves Jesus deeply, and is serving others out of his people skills, not his math skills 😉 Stories like this make us even more confident to communicate to parents the essential nature of the message, “You are LOVED no matter what… even when you are really struggling and feel like you least deserve that love.” (Our FREE Romans 8 download, adapted for parenting, could be just the encouraging reminder you need!)

To show how important this concept is, we’ve compiled for you our top 12 reasons for expressing unconditional love when kids are struggling the most. What would you add to the list?

Love-no-matter-what:

  1. is the best way for kids to experience a representation of God’s love and grace for sinners. (Romans 5:8)
  2. brings the culture of Christ into families and deepens spiritual hunger. 
  3. builds emotional security in kids – they understand true unconditional love is not earned by performance.
  4. encourages kids to serve out of joy, not needing to get affirmation or compensate for shame.  
  5. helps strengthen kids to withstand peer pressure.
  6. keeps kids from forming a black sheep identity: when I act bad, I am bad. 
  7. calms hearts and helps kids listen to other people’s perspectives.
  8. bonds your heart to your child in enduring ways, and is the foundation for a connected relationship through the teen years and beyond.
  9. frees kids to take responsibility for their sin instead of focusing on parents’ anger. (Romans 2:4)
  10. grows kids to become dispensers of grace to others and naturally gravitate toward grace-filled relationships in life. 
  11. trains kids to become loving spouses and parents.
  12. blesses and transforms the parents who are the channel for God’s grace!

Want to learn more?

  1. Listen to the podcast “Communicating Love in the Midst of Misbehavior“.
  2. Download the ebook Four Messages Every Child Longs to Hear.
  3. Register for Discipline That Connect With Your Child’s Heart online course this fall! Course begins on October 1st. 

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