25 Cent Love

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“Cheap love. A literal waste of my time!”

That’s what I thought when I first heard the term, 25 cent love. You can’t buy much for a quarter these days. Not to mention, love. Yet,  Jesus is all about love. 

“Love one another, as I have loved you.”  Jesus.

When I think of how Jesus loves me, it’s deadly. It cost Him his life. Like nails and cross. Crucifixion. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad He died and rose again for my sin. But, to ask me to love others that way?  I hesitate.

Martyr love is extreme. It’s also essential to our eternal destiny. But, the unique thing about martyr love is it frees you and me to love constantly and unconditionally.

“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 ESV

Jesus is love. Humanly speaking, we cannot love others without living in his love. Christ loving others through me.  That is real love.  Everything else that claims to be love is ladened with ulterior motives. 

Iffy Love is Iffy.

Conditional love is short-lived and sucks the life out of others for your own advantage. It’s not the love Jesus talks about nor the way he wants us to love others. And yet, how often do you and I practice iffy love?

“If you buy me that jacket, I’ll take you out for coffee.

“If you would bring me my drink, I’ll let you sit by me.”

“If you would run that errand for me, I’ll come home early from work tonight.”

The problem is we don’t take them out for coffee, we don’t let them sit by us on the couch and we are still late getting home.  Conditional love rarely follows through and it almost always takes advantage of others.

One young guy I mentored would hang around me anytime he wanted something. He’d get overly friendly, put his arm around my shoulder, extra man-hugs.  Not that any of that is necessarily wrong, but for him, it was him making the move toward a big ask of me. 

“Hey man, my car has been acting up lately. The mechanic said it needs some major work, which costs a lot more than I have right now.  Would you be willing to pay for the work and I can then pay you back as soon as I get paid next week?”

Problem was, he was in between jobs. In that case, the best way to love him was to say “no”. 

So, what is this 25-cent love all about?

25-cent love is consistent and unconditional. It’s love in smaller increments. When you love someone consistently and unconditionally, you build up relational capital with that person. Capital that will pay off long-term. 

Here are some examples of 25-cent love.

  • Washing dishes without being asked.
  • Taking out the trash consistently.
  • Remembering your wife’s birthday, all the time. 
  • Picking up your wife’s favorite coffee drink on the way home.
  • Getting up with the baby so your wife can sleep.
  • Standing up for your friend in a three-way conversation.
  • Texting a friend a word of encouragement.
  • Praying with a friend instead of saying you will later.

25-cent love can be words of affirmation, acts of service, or even appropriate physical touch. The list can be endless.

One of the faulty ways of thinking about 25-cent love is “I got this!” As if since it’s small acts of service, you can handle it on your own. No, you can’t.

Just because the list above seems manageable from a human perspective, it is not. All of life is to be lived from the power and presence of Christ in you.  We love because of Christ. 25-cent love is as dependent on Christ as much so as martyr love is.

I cannot love my wife consistently and unconditionally for decades without Christ loving her through me. Otherwise, all of those 25-cent love acts will turn into self-centered conditional love.

Here’s the reality about relationships. Relationships of any worth will have conflicts. Conflicts are inevitable, even among Christ-followers.  That’s not the problem. When you love as Christ calls us to, even in the 25-cent transactions of life, the relational capital you build with someone will benefit both of you when those conflicts occur.

Something to think about.

So, what’s it going to be? Love on your terms, or consistent, unconditional 25-cent love?

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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