Usually we want, or at least expect something in return, not always of course, but generally that is the case.
When we offer our love to someone, whether it is by an action or in an emotional context, it is done over time, again, not always, but most generally. Normally two people do not meet for the first time and then get married after the initial greetings, although it has happened, as in the case of Isaac and Rebekah, (Gen. 24:67) but many times, as it was with them, it does not always work out so well.
The action of love does not require much forethought many times, just the other day my lovely wife and I saw a young couple with a sign on the side of an intersection asking for money or food, so I turned around at the next corner, and we gave them what they were in need of, the action of love without any forethought. Why? Because we are commanded to love our neighbor, (Mark 12:31) so in a sense, the forethought was placed in our minds from the moment that we read those words in the Scriptures, yet the conviction of the action did not have an outlet, at least on that day and in that manner, until we drove past that couple.
What possible return could we have asked for from them, a receipt? Should we have told them that we would gladly give them some money only if the promised to not use it on drugs or alcohol? What stipulations did the Lord put on us when He offered His love to us? How long will you continue to love your errant child, how long will you be patient and loving to that person who is disabled in your life, what stipulations have you placed on the giving of your love to others?
That statement right there should cause you to either stop and think, or stop reading these letters to you, if you would look at it honestly.
“I offer you my love, if you will….” “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
“I cannot love them anymore, they hurt me too badly…” “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
Perhaps I should say “I’m sorry” if I just made you feel very small, but I’m not going to, for the second of the three reasons that these letters are written to you is to encourage the brethren and “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” (Prov. 6:23)
I want taken out of me the same thing that you want taken out of you, the same thing that everyone who has been crucified with Christ wants removed from them, our sinful nature. I want that old man (Eph. 4:22) dead and gone, I want to be able to love without expecting anything in return, every time.
I do not believe that most of us truly understand the better parts of eternity, I think that perhaps we focus a little too much on the no more tears, no more sorrow parts, instead of the release from not only the sinful old man within each of us, but the curse that lies upon the entire world. We want to spend our time in continual joy, not seeking for it, we want to be released completely, to be free of the bondage, the burden of sin.
There is a blessing that waits for those of us that understand what has been written here, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matt. 5:6) Love your neighbor, love your enemies and those that spitefully use you, (Matt. 5:44) love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind (Matt. 22:37) as best as you are able to today, tomorrow may be the day that we will be freed from the inability to do so in-part only forever.