Transactional or Unconditional Love

glass-bridge

Some of you who read my blog may know my political leanings. I did not vote for President Trump. But he is my President. And as a follower of Jesus, I am bidden to pray for him, and I do privately.

Yet, as a follower of Jesus I realize I must pray for him publicly, too.

During the campaign last year, I watched the PBS Frontline documentary The Choice. It was an eye-opening comparison between the childhoods of Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. While Clinton’s childhood was marred by alcoholism, abuse and secrecy, Trump’s was stained by a father who showed love only when his son produced. It wasn’t the unconditional love of a parent; it was a transactional love. You succeed, I’ll dole out a measure of love equivalent to your success.

What I see when I look at Trump is someone who has never known love. Or, probably more specifically: Trump shows signs of only knowing transactional love. He knows the feeling of love that comes with the praise of success. He does not know any possibility of loveliness in the messy failure that is real life: not for others, not for himself. For me, loving my enemy begins with seeing the unloved, wounded child. J.R. Daniel Kirk, Patheos, Feb 11

As a former elementary school teacher with over 20 years under my belt, I have seen what this kind of transactional love does to a child, to an adult. And with that experience and observation, with those past relationships, with the amount of unconditional love I poured into those children, I can honestly say that my history and the Spirit’s grace allow me to love the child who Donald Trump was.

Once I see him through those eyes, it becomes easy for me to pray for him. It becomes effortless for me to lift him up and ask for his heart to be open to the gift of unconditional love my Father has to offer. It becomes obvious for me to pray for him to develop an authentic compassion for the people he serves. And yes, I pray deep down he feels a gnawing hunger for the true grace and forgiveness of Christ.

In the transparency of this prayer, of my own ability to offer God’s love and grace through surrender to the Spirit, I am building a small, precarious bridge in the hopes others might join me. Because anger has never moved me; it has only paralyzed me. What moves me is my ability to see someone’s heart and to love generously, wholly and completely. And hopefully to move them with prayer.

“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your neighbor,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. Pray for those who persecute or torment you. In this way, you reflect God’s image. For He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the kind and cruel. It’s easy to love the lovable, anybody can do that. If you simply greet those who greet you, any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

26 comments

  1. Thank you, Susan…as always you make me think. Sending lots of light and love ❤

    Like

    1. Love you, Lorrie, and thank you for the comment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. […] praying and struggling to pray for our president…courageous, heart-grinding prayers.  See Susan Irene Fox’s wisdom on the matter.  I think our prayers have been […]

    Like

  3. thank you, Susan. I can see the missing pieces. We all do have some of those.

    Like

  4. Well…that was pretty awesome.

    Joyous Valentine’s day to you, Susan

    Like

    1. Hey, thanks Wally. To you too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That my sweet sister is shear wisdom and maturity in Christ. I love it when the Holy Spirit checks my heart. What’s in the heart comes out of the mouth you know. I have to pull both feet out some day’s. Then I can see Jesus and become effective again. There is a awesome peace and power when we walk in the love and authority of Jesus. So happy for you Susan. Lord bless you.

    Much love Tom

    Like

    1. “I have to pull both feet out some day’s. Then I can see Jesus and become effective again.” Oh, I know this feeling well, Tom.
      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Darling, may I repost? This is courageous, verb-form love..the hardest work we are called to do. I read something a few weeks back about the need to move our prayers from our head-space to our heart-space. At the time, I confessed that in my efforts to move Trump to my heart-space, I was aware that one of us was kicking and screaming. Dearest, if you can do this, then maybe I can, too. Holding hands?

    Like

    1. Of course, repost. Trust me, I was kicking and screaming too, but when God is in the driver’s seat, we just gotta go along for the ride! 🙂

      Like

  7. Amen, Susan. This is the heart of being a follower of Christ. His love must trump (pun not intended!) our politics. Politics divides and creates hostility and hatred. But when we begin to see others the way Jesus sees them, we begin to have His heart of compassion for them. We realize that we really don’t have enemies, and that we’re in this thing together. Being in disagreement does not allow for us not to pray for them and even love them.

    Like

    1. Absolutely, Mel. I hurt deeply for those hurting now. At the same time, I see the wall this man has built around himself and it saddens me greatly. So I will pray there is someone, perhaps his daughter, who can reach beyond his personal wall into his heart to begin to crack the armor there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I pray for BOTH sides of the issues, also. And, yes, that Trump will have people in his life that will help him make wise choices for all Americans (and the world). I mostly pray that people would stop attacking each other and start listening to each other instead. What a world that would be! 🙂

        Like

      2. Amen to that. Too often we only look at the surface – the anger, the first reactions – instead of stopping to ask, “Why?” We listen to old myths and stereotypes instead of really hearing the hurts and hearts of individuals. And surface listening negates any hope of finding common ground. We really must remember why God gave us two ears and only one mouth. And remember James’ warning about our tongues. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Praying for you too, Vincent. Thank you. ❤

      Like

      1. Thanks Susan 😍😇

        Like

  8. God bless you, Susan. We all need to put our personal differences aside and pray for our President. I’m right there with you. God’s Power and Love are the answers. I also stand against this fighting and hatred and send Love to all those people who are intent upon dividing this country. LOVE will win!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Like

    1. Thanks, Amy. I must say I completely understand the anger and the fear, yet I know for me, anger and fear are stumbling blocks.While I have common concerns with those who feel that anger and fear, I also must trust there is purpose to all of this. So I will pray – and continue to pray – that we all work to unite our country, to look under the surface of the anger and fear, to find common ground, and to pray for each other and the President.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You are a wise and faithful woman in the Lord.

    Like

    1. Thank you, Gary. As I said to someone else, it took me a few weeks to get here. I’m thankful for the patience, love and wisdom of the Spirit working in me, allowing me to see and hear.

      Like

  10. Reblogged this on Pete Gardner's Blog and commented:
    An excellent post by Susan. Please read it all!

    Like

  11. What a wonderful revelation to share with us. Thank you Susan, for helping all of us better understand our president. We can all pray more effectively now. I am reblogging this excellent post.

    Like

    1. Thank you, Pete. It has taken me awhile to get here, but I’m always grateful for the Spirit’s wisdom.

      Liked by 1 person

%d bloggers like this: