Unconditional Love: with conditions
In Greek, there are four different words for “love” with four different meanings. The Bible uses the term “agape” the most. Agape is the term used in the famous Love Chapter of the Bible.
1 Corenthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Agape is the truest form of love. It is distinguished from friendly love, lustful love, and familial love. It is Godly Love.
We use love to talk about many things. “I love this pizza.” “I love your hair.” “I love to swim.” “I love you.” They all express a form of affection for something, but all are on completely different levels. God’s love is perfect. God’s love is unconditional. God’s love is agape.
Do we experience this love anywhere other than God?
Can a human truly love unconditionally?
These are questions that I have been asking myself for years. As Christians we strive to love like Jesus. John 13:34-35 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” We try to mimic the love He showed for us by dieing on the cross. In my efforts I always seem to come up short. My selfishness, laziness, and ego usually tend to win out at some point or another. Can I love unconditionally? Is it possible for people to love unconditionally? I have had this debate many times with Christians, here is a common rebuttal…
“I love my spouse unconditionally.”
You may love your spouse, but do you truly love them in any condition? Lets be hypothetical for a moment. If your spouse walked into the house today and said, “Honey, I hate you”. You can probably say you would still love them. Then your spouse pulls out a gun and shoots you in the leg. Maybe, you could forgive them and continue to love them. Your leg starts to heel, meanwhile your spouse is out cheating on you repeatedly with multiple people including your best friend. If you can still find it in your heart to love them you are a better man than me. But then your spouse returns and maybe, just maybe you find it in your heart to love them again. Then they pull out a gun again and shoot your other leg. At some point in this hypothetical situation you are probably saying to yourself, “OK, I would be done.” If not, you are either lying to yourself or stupid, but I’m willing to bet that if this happened over and over you would eventually find yourself not loving your spouse any more.
This scenario is a little extreme, but you get the point. To love unconditionally is to love no matter what happens, no matter how many times they hurt you. No matter how many times they abandon you, beat you , shoot you, and cheat on you. That is agape.
I truly believe as humans we do not have the ability to love unconditionally. Apart from God we will never come close, but even with God our human nature will win out at some point, in some situation. Think about it…
Have you ever lied to the person you love the most? Probably
Have you ever hurt that person by mistake or even on purpose? Most likely
Have you ever made a decision that considered yourself more than that person? Yes
You have failed at loving unconditionally. You have loved with conditions. You are human.
HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS…God loves us unconditionally!!!
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
No matter how many things we do to Him, he has already forgiven us. We choose to sin daily and he still loves us. From Adam and Eve until tomorrow we continue to shoot him, deny him, and sin against him, but He has already showed us unconditional love by sending his Son.
God’s love is unconditional because God is love!
1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Apart from God, we will never experience true love. God is the only one with the capacity to love unconditionally because He is true love. So then, as humans, how do we come closest to loving unconditionally? How do we agape someone? This is how…
1 John 4:8-9 because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
We must allow God to love through us. We must share His love with others. We must bring them to God so that they will be able to experience agape. This is why we testify, witness, and evangelize. We are doing it to bring them the unconditional love that is God. A person who does not have God in their hearts will never know true unconditional love and no matter how hard we try we cannot show them true love without showing them God. Only by opening their heart to God will they know what its like to be loved unconditionally.
We show unconditional love by showing God. God is true love. God is agape.