I recently heard one of our members say, “I know —- is —-, but I love —- anyway”. That’s great, and that’s what unconditional love is all about–loving one another in spite of their faults. That should characterize every Christian. Without such love there is no evidence that we are true believers. Without it relationships are ruined, families are fractured, friendships fail, and churches are crippled.
When love is lacking sin is flourishing, needs are growing, divisions are multiplying, people are suffering and joy is absent. Love is the power that draws us together and the glue that holds us together. It makes a household a home, a church a family, and all of society a better place to live. With love nearly all things are possible. Without it nothing works as it should. Until you love unconditionally you will never, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”.(Matt. 5:44). That command is a tall order and nothing short of genuine love can suffice. With it we cannot fail. Without it we cannot succeed.
But where does such love come from? It comes from us first loving God– the first and great commandment. In loving Him above all else we are enabled to love others as we love ourselves. All this is made possible because God first loved us. Considering God’s great love for us, we never have a reason to not love Him or others. We might not like another person’s ways, but we ought to love them–faults and all. If we fail it is due to our relationship with God, not the shortcomings of others. Unconditional love depends on our character, not the other persons conduct.
But, as much as we need such love we cannot create it ourselves. Will power isn’t that powerful. To get love we have to go to the source, which is God. No amount of human effort is ever enough. If the benefits are big enough we might treat people as though we love them, but we don’t. We tolerate them and treat them kindly because it works to our advantage. The real test comes when there is an offense of some kind. Unconditional love doesn’t stop because someone fails. That doesn’t mean we pretend that nothing happened. It means we love them regardless of what happens.
It is unconditional love that impresses hearts, changes lives, builds relationships, keeps marriages together, and makes churches successful. Nothing else on earth is so powerful. Convincing others that we love them unconditionally can change them when nothing else can. Now if we could just see our need, rather than the other person’s need, and love people as Jesus did we could make a major difference in the world. Let us pray earnestly for God to fill us with such love.