Bible Society of South Africa
Benescke Janse van Rensburg

Are you grateful? – Day 8

Thankful for God’s unconditional love

Bible text(s)

8But God has shown us how much he loves us — it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!

Romans 5:8GNBOpen in Bible reader

18‘I, the LORD, am not easily angered, and I show great love and faithfulness and forgive sin and rebellion. Yet I will not fail to punish children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation for the sins of their parents.’

Numbers 14:18GNBOpen in Bible reader

This testimony of a Capetonian lady made me realise the value of unconditional love and acceptance:

Surina was late for school every day. Sometimes, she only arrived at school around 10:30 in the morning. Her homework was almost never done and in class, she was the one causing disruption. The teachers eventually started losing hope that she would ever change. After yet another incident in class, Surina’s teachers went to the school principal demanding that she be suspended.

What they did not know, was that both Surina’s parents were alcoholics. When she arrived home after school, her parents were already drunk. When she did try to do homework, her father, in between the constant quarrels in the family, would destroy her school books. Surina confessed that at the time, her future seemed as dark as her present. She did not see any escape from these tough times.

Instead of a suspension, the principal gave Surina’s teachers a one week challenge. For one week, they had to show unconditional love and compassion towards her. Their words had to encourage and inspire her as they strove to create a safe environment in which she would feel accepted, despite her behaviour. Initially, this sounded like an impossible task. Yet, the teachers agreed to it for one week.

Much to their surprise, their change in attitude brought a change in Surina’s behaviour within a few days. Not only did she arrive at school earlier in the morning, but her homework was up to date for the first time in months. The “one week” challenge turned into weeks and the teachers was utterly amazed to see how Surina, the rebel, changed into an achiever.

Today, Surina is happily married and she has a son. She runs a successful business that trades internationally. What brought the change? Unconditional love and acceptance.

Do you realise that God also accepted and loved us unconditionally while we were still sinful? In Romans 5:8 we read: “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Nothing we did in the past cannot be forgiven if we repent and turn back to him. This is confirmed in Numbers 14:18: “The LORD is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion.”

God desires a relationship with each of us. Did he not give his only Son for us? Let us, therefore, thank him for his unconditional love and acceptance, and strive towards showing this also to our difficult colleagues at work, our rebellious children at home and even our grumpy neighbours. Through a changed attitude we might, like Surina’s teachers, be utterly amazed at the healing God brings in people’s lives. God bless.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.14
Find us on