I recently heard someone on TikTok say that one of the problems with organized Christianity is that unconditional love with conditions is not love. Now, I know a lot of people will criticize that but I think social media has exposed more fake Christians than we’d like to see.
I don’t doubt that people have hard times but don’t want to share the details out of the concern they’ll upset someone else, but for all the prayer requests I see, it leaves me to wonder if maybe the problem is with the person asking or maybe they’re seeking attention.
The ugly side of “unconditional love” no one wants to talk about is that it means loving people who don’t think the same as you; don’t share your political and/or spiritual beliefs; and don’t want you involved much in their lives.
With school starting back this month, a lot of gullible young people will be heading off to a new school where they will be prey for youth group leaders. One thing that I’ve never heard an answer to is why are some of the people associated with churches and religious organization never there until you come to them. They should be seeking you out for help you need, not the other way around. It’s when you become part of their circle, they start to care about you.
This is a cult. I don’t care what people say. Unconditional love with conditions is an oxymoron. Actually, “unconditional love” itself is redundant. Love is love. You shouldn’t have to follow a list of things to do to earn someone else’s love.
That was my problem with Fire Proof and The Love Dare it promote. You do things for people because it’s in your nature to do it. You make someone a cup of coffee. You make them dinner. You do things for people out of love with expectations of it not being reciprocated.
I think that’s the biggest problem affecting people over the age of 55. They feel that everything should be quid pro quo. Parents used to make the world a better place for their younger generations. But now, it seems they do things to get something in return.
They call this “hero complex,” a notion that the parent stepped up and went above and beyond. But that’s just basic parenting. You shouldn’t expect anything in return, not even grandkids or a house on the lake where you can retire.
I think parents continue to want to micromanage their children even as they are well into their adulthoods. You have to live where you can afford to live and you have to work where they’re hiring. Sometimes that means you have to live more than a few minute drive away from your parents.
But I don’t think some parents understand that. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere where anyone thought they could just “pop in.” Even my own neighbors make apologies for the rare times when they do have to knock on my door. We shouldn’t be imposing ourselves on other people’s daily lives.
That’s why a lot of people are being heavily criticized for setting up boundaries with their parents when they become adults. Now, I’ll be blunt. For those who own, lease or even renting their own home, your parents should never feel they can just show up at any given time and start taking control of things. I understand there are some adults who need their parents help, but too often some older people need to realize that they’re setting up tension between a couple.
Which brings me to the next thing I’ll talk about. I have a brother who is married to another man. They’ve been in a relationship for years and married a year now. Over the years, there have been so many people who only got married to appease their parents or follow a religious ideology that really doesn’t exist.
To this day, people are expected to make their brother or sister the Best Man or Maid of Honor. Or worse. They’re expecting to make their own father be the Best Man and their mother Maid of Honor. This is dangerous. And I’m sure they ought to invite a lot of divorce lawyers to the wedding, because they’ll need them.
Currently parents seem to have an argument, that “I’m a parent, not a friend” and I agree. That being said, you shouldn’t expect your friends to treat you the way your parents do. And quite frankly, it’s unhealthy to have a too-close relationship with your parents at any stage in your life.
I had a friend in college who had to repeatedly lie to his family about his plans for every weekend so they wouldn’t guilt him into visiting. This is another problem where I think parents and grandparents cause more damage than good. Traditions and expectations are different. And there’s a clash.
That’s why I don’t think there’s any reason to visit family around the holiday seasons. Nope. None at all. You spent 20-plus years having to spend Christmas Day doing this or Easter Sunday doing that. You always had to do Thanksgiving dinner the Friday after because one family got together on Thanksgiving evening. It’s too much of a headache and stress for people to put up with and it shouldn’t have the added stress of another family tradition coming into the mix.
Love means letting people be happy and seeing that they have to spend the holidays with other people. I’ll be blunt when I say I don’t consider the town I grew up in as “home” anymore. A home is inviting. It’s a place where you don’t have to abide by others rules. It’s a place where you can be yourself and relax. The area I grew up in is nowhere near that.
I joke it’s the type of town where everyone is in everyone else’s business. You can go to the bathroom, leaving your phone in the other room, on a weekday afternoon, with no neighbors around. And by the time you’ve flushed, half the town knows what you did and they’re telling the other half.
And I don’t believe in tough love. “Tough love” is when parents use the “Because I said so” or the “I’m the adult (or parent); you’re the child” mantra. It’s very dangerous as it sets up a toxic relationship. And that toxicity will destroy other relationships.
It is perfectly ok and acceptable not to always fix your child’s mistakes especially when they’re 30-something and in jail for violent and/or sex-related crimes. You’re not abandoning your child, you just can’t clean up their messes anymore.
On the flip side, parents have to let their adult children make their own choices. When I was growing up, my parents could make business transactions (i.e. getting a new car), but now it seems too many older people want control of that. I’ve run into that myself.
And as we wind down summer vacation, how many people out there have had people expect their parents either to invite them along to the beach or to visit them. Part of the reasoning behind a vacation is to get away from the stressful things in your life, not run toward them. I also think unless you’re visiting someone for a holiday, funeral or wedding, there’s really no need to visit the elders around you.
I make no apologies. I think it’s very sad for a lot of elderly people to sit around and expect others to visit them. If you have the abilities to get out, then get out. Surely, there are many community events going on. This goes back to the “hero complex” expecting people to show up to pay their respects to you.
Family reunions aren’t my thing. They never have been. For one, there always held at campgrounds or parks in the middle of summer, which means the weather is always a factor. Two, there always held way too damn early. Everyone has to eat at 11:30 a.m. Three, that food has probably been setting out since 4 a.m. Four, no one washes their damn hands. Seriously, all these parks and campgrounds have no available access to a bathroom that doesn’t look like a serial killer is lurking in a stall.
My ex’s family would hold family reunions but have one of those in attendance spend the whole time singing gospel songs and they would demand others sing with them. Naturally, people stopped going. And they were very religious people to begin but no one wants to spend their weekend afternoon listening to someone strumming on a guitar singing music off-note.
Worse, after people stopped going, other family members would more or less badger those who aren’t going on why they’re not going. And that’s typical of “Christian people” around.
Ever stopped attending a church service? My mom quit going to one church when I was in high school and someone showed up at night to “check up on her.” He later more or less implied we were going to be shunned because “We don’t like when people stop coming.” He was an older man and he’s probably dead by now.
But yet, it’s more of that conditional “unconditional love.” We’ll love you until we decide we don’t want to love you anymore because you’re not following our guidelines.
Speaking of my ex, we still talk. Why not? We still love each other, just not that way. It’s pointless to be angry at someone for the rest of your life.
I think that’s one thing younger generations are grasping better especially when it comes to raising children. For those in the back, unless the ex did something totally unforgiveable, there is no reason to project whatever dislike you have of your ex on to your child. That is and will remain a parent to the child. There’s no “my” or “your.” It’s “our children” and it’ll always been “our children.”
Divorce is hard on kids, but at the end of the day, they are still parents. They are still in a business partnership. If both parents want to have an active role in their child’s growth, neither parent should set up a roadblock. You don’t have to always get along, but you do have to come to an agreement.
And this intolerable hatred among divorced parents needs to stop. Because it’s unhealthy. You can’t tell your children about Christian love if you wish their other parent ill-will. I’m not excusing child abuse, illegal activities or even adultery, but when it comes down to irreconcilable differences, there’s no need to project that on to the children.
That is showing your child what love is. And if you want to raise your child as a Christian, you’re off to a good start.