In their book, A Forgiving God in an Unforgiving World, Ron Lee Davis and James D. Denney recount one of the saddest stories I’ve ever read. They wrote…
“During the height of the Vietnam War, there was a record that was number one on all the charts for some 12 weeks. Entitled “An Open Letter To My Teenage Son,” this record sold millions of copies, which should give you some sense of how popular this message was during those divisive times. With patriotic music and the roll of snare drums in the background, a father reads a letter he has written to his son. In the letter he tells his son how lovingly he remembers the years when he was growing up, and how much he loves him now.
Just before this father reads the final line of this moving, stirring, loving letter, the music suddenly stops—and into the silence that follows he says: “But, son, if you burn your draft card, I will no longer have a son.””
That story makes me sad on several fronts. I lived through those agonizing days of burning draft cards and U.S.A. flags. Our country was torn and divided big time over our role in Vietnam.
But what must not be missed was that this song was not really about the Vietnam war. It was about conditional love. It is the kind of love that has limits and thus, in the end, it is the kind of love that eventually fails.
My generation was the last generation that had to deal with draft cards and I hope it remains that way. But there are many issues that can be inserted into the lyrics of that hit song that are relevant today.
The question is, will you allow those issues to be a deal-breaker. Are there limits on your love or do you love unconditionally? Love with limits is the easy way; love without limits costs, sometimes for a lifetime.
The space allotted to me in this short blog does not allow me to address all the complex and painful scenarios that result from unconditional love but I can say this…
The ONE THING for today:
Unconditional love says, “No matter your choices I will always and forever love you.” And that statement is the always and forever the starting point for making things better.