At the core of our Christian faith is a command to love others, even our enemy’s. This is a calling to love others unconditionally. Is unconditional love an ideal or a practical reality…can we love unconditionally? Leave a comment, tell us what you think, and share life stories about unconditional love.
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Vanda Tougas says
After 49 years of trying to lead a Christian life and hoping to make God proud of how I love his people, this is a question that has really hit me hard at this point in my life. The reason being is overall I believe I have done a fairly good job of loving people wholeheartedly, BUT over the last two years of my life I have suffered some huge hurts from those closest to me and that I have loved the most. This has left me in a place of questioning my ability to love “wholeheartedly” again due the fear of not being able to survive the pain that sems to come with it. And the even scarier thing is that my mind has propogated this fear of loving across “all people” when the biggest hurts have come from those closest to me. As I have struggled with this I have come to a conclusion that in order to love God’s children unconditionally (as God wants us to do), we have to be so close in our relationship with Him that we can love from Him within us and “filter” what comes back to us through Him that is in us to prevent the pain from crippling us. I am NOT there yet and not sure how to get there — but my heart and mind says that’s the only way to accomplish “unconditional love” as a human being. Open to other ideas as this is a very current struggle for me!
Andy Burns says
I don’t know if it is possible for us as human beings to love everyone unconditionally. Certainly not by ourselves. Through God? I don’t know. God can do all things, but if we as humans could love completely unconditionally, we would be virtually sinless. If we loved someone unconditionally all the time, we would not lie to them, we would not disrespect them, we would show them God’s perfect love all the time, which is sinless. But this is just what popped into my mind about 10 minutes ago, so my reasoning here could very well be wrong.
Ian McKerracher says
CAN WE LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY? I have always been intrigued by the absence of the word love in the three-point list of the elements of the Kingdom of God. (Romans 14:17) The three mentioned are, of course, essential in the life of any believer. The absence of any would be a major deficit. But that is also true with love isn’t it? Should anyone outside the Church be in line to receive something from some anonymous saint through ministry in the Spirit, they would immediately sense if that ministry was through “love unfeigned” (II Cor 6:6) or out of some other motivation. Even if love is not listed in Romans 14, it is the undisputed fundamental motive force behind the three that are. We should stop here for a minute and look at what “love” really is. It is a significant weakness in our language that our word “love” has so many meanings. We have brotherly or familial love, love for a fellow member of some fraternal organization, love for a girlfriend and a different love for a spouse even when they are the same person. We can “love” yogurt for that matter. In our culture, so permeated with unbiblical ideas, love is defined in terms of feelings that we have for someone else. The truth is that feelings are much too fickle to be trusted to provide a strong enough foundation on which to build the love that approaches unconditional. The love that can be called unconditional is known by the Christian as agape´ which is Greek for selfless, spiritual love. Given that love is so important in the personal faith of every Christian, do we have the capacity to perform what we promise? Capacity is an interesting concept. In my vocation as a math instructor to tradesmen, I sometimes cover how to figure out the capacities of vessels. Say we have a rectangular tank that is 2 feet X 3 feet X 4 feet. The volume of that tank is 24 cubic feet. That tells me the amount of empty space in the vessel. Capacity is defined as what we can put in that space. Since there are 7.5 US Gallons in a cubit foot, this vessel has a capacity of 180 US gallons (7.5 X 24). In any relationship in which one of the participants is born-again, there is an enormous “volume” for love. It is as big as the Heart of God. There is nothing that can oppose it. It is unconditional and can be life-changing, both for the giver and the receiver. However, the capacity of that love, what we fill up that empty space with, remains in our hands. We hold the balance of power here. God will not over-ride our decision to give or withhold love to anybody. God will not even over-ride our decision to love Him or not. He is Lord only as far as I let him be. So, should I choose to love another person while employing the indwelling Spirit of God, I will love as God loves with that Agape´ type love that will bring wholeness to the object of that love. It will be found unconditional, overwhelming, and irresistible. It will actually be God loving them through me. There is a further corollary to this talk of love. The plain fact that the question is asked signifies that there must be a serious lack of any evidence in the Christian Church of this Agape´ love. As was mentioned before, the absence of the love of God flowing through us would be a major deficit. If it is what defines us a followers of Christ (John 13:35) can it be said that we have churches full of people who believe that they are Christians but lack this signpost clearly pointed out by Christ Himself? Serious stuff indeed. Given this worst case scenario (and I don’t think it really is as bad as that), does that mean that the Church is a mission field? The Apostle Peter had something to say about what the remedy is for all of this. 1 Peter 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.[ Let us choose, then, to abhor the status quo that infects our congregations. Let us be violently opposed to the self-centeredness we find so naturally rising up in ourselves. Let us begin to show that sincere love that the world looks for in the Church. Not only would we be unconditional, we would be unstoppable. The only thing to remember is that it must really be God in us or we will fall tragically flat.
Kirk Taylor says
Can we love unconditionally? No, we are incapable of perfection. Are we called to love unconditionally? Yes, but only Christ has successfully done so. Are we fallen? Yes, …for all have sinned. Does this mean we should not try? No, …renew your mind. Our total depravity deprives us of perfect love. We must not be conformed to the (selfish) ways of this world. But this side of heaven, our ability to love will have self serving strings attached, even with the best of intension’s….That’s why God created grace, unmerited favor. He loves us even we we are unworthy of love, and love unworthily. Thank you Lord, for making a way. Help me love as you do. Amen.
Roger Wolsey says
As Christians, there are many things that we are called to do, chief among them is the call to love without conditions. As I’ve made progress in my journey in Christ, it has gotten easier for me to do this. However, I still have bad days and times where I don’t love as unconditionally as I could. On our own, humans are only capable of this to a certain extent. But, we aren’t on our own, we have the Holy Spirit intervening in our lives and God’s grace through the Spirit enables us to love more fully than we could on our own. The Bible addresses these matters pretty well. I speak to them as well in my new book, Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like chrisitanity. http:/www.progressivechristianitybook.com blessings to us as all as we seek to love as fully as we can!
Ruth Jewell says
Yes we can “love” unconditionally, but I don’t think we can “like” unconditionally. Loving and liking someone are two very different things. Loving someone doesn’t mean we have to agree with them or like who they are or what they do. Jesus loved his persecutors, did he like them, not so sure. After all God made us all different and with diversity comes a prediclition for liking one thing over another, one person over another. All of that doesn’t mean we aren’t supposed to Love each and everyone one of us with the same Love God has for us. God loves all of her children, whether they are likable or not, that’s the premise for Grace. What is the saying, to love the sinner, but dislike what the sinner does. I can love a murderer without condoning the act of murder, every mother of a man or woman in prison knows that. We are called to be better than who we are, which means rising above our likes and dislikes and loving each other. This means being civil and respectful even if you disagree, it means treating each other the way we wish to be treated even if we do not like the other. Love is unconditional, our God given diversity and power of self will means we will have differences of opinion that is what makes us Human and Spirit driven. CFC Response: Ruth, I couldn’t have said it any better. Great comment. Thanks for sharing it with us!
Ian McKerracher says
Ruth. I like what you said. The truth is that real love has completely nothing to do with the object of that love. It begins and ends with the giver.
The cross proves that God’s love actually has conditions. As for us, we are to serve, pray and bless those who spitefully use us. This is love. It isn’t a feeling. It is an action. The concept of actually loving someone who wants to do you harm is not meant as a weak lay down and take it, but we are to take action. We are hampered by the redefinition of the language over the last century. We have no idea what love is and it shows.