What comes to your mind when you hear the words unconditional love?
I saw this post on Facebook, “I beat myself up with expressions like ‘unconditional love’, only never applied it to me. I thought I had to accept nasty behavior to PROVE I loved. I just didn't understand loving myself or respecting myself. I tried so hard not to judge others—to just accept. It was really mixed up!”-Darlene Ouimet. We need to understand what love is in order to know how to show it in our relationships.
The Bible says, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-10.
It is interesting that we even use the term unconditional for love at all because love, by God’s definition does not fail period. In other words, if there are conditions it is not love, but this does not mean relationships can’t fail even if love doesn’t. The Torah says “Then the Lord said, ‘My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.’…The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. And the Lord said, ‘I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.’ But Noah found favor with the Lord.” Genesis 6:3-8
How can we believe that love never fails and yet believe that God can end relationships at the sometime? Because love rejoices in truth you can’t have love without it. And for something to be true it must meet the conditions of God’s word because God is the author of truth. “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20. This is why although love is not based on conditions true love must sets conditions or boundaries for relationships with others and God. Love is also just so it can’t be content to sweep injustice under the rug and disregard it to “keep the peace”. True love can say no to certain behaviors, just as it can say yes to relationship. What is not loving is enabling unhealthy destructive behaviors by allowing it to continue and multiply harm to others and those engaged in it.
Picture originally found here