What does it mean to Love without condition? We have often heard the phrase ‘God’s unconditional love’ or ‘God loves you unconditionally,’ well what does that mean?
Google tells me that it means to ‘love without conditions or limitations’, but what does God say? The Bible says a lot about love, it mentions it over 550 times and if something is mentioned that many times, it must be important.
God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16
Jesus says that it will be our love for one another that will prove to the world that we are His disciples (John 13:35). So what does it all mean? What does unconditional love look like? How do we love like God?
During this last season of my life, God has been teaching me about what it means to love without condition. It has been a long and mostly uncomfortable lesson, as it has pushed me right out of my comfort zone and into a place of stripping away my own selfish motives and ideas of what I think love looks like.
To understand the true definition of love, we have to look at what God says about it.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV)
I’m sure i’m not the only person who has read this and felt like they fall short quite significantly! When I read this, it highlights a lot of flaws in how I’ve shown love to many people in my life. A month or so ago, I had a fight with someone I thought I loved unconditionally. I have been deeply challenged at my behaviour, which at the time I felt was provoked by love. Although everything is fine now and we have forgiven each other and moved on from it, this was the beginning of my lesson, and it has been rough.
Sometimes, we can show what we believe is Gods love, in a way that promotes condemnation and judgement, highlighting Gods laws and regulations instead of His mercy and His grace. Sometimes, we view love through our own eyes when we should be looking through Gods. After all, love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8) Conditional love says ‘if you do this and this, I will love you’, whereas unconditional love says ‘I will love you regardless of what you do.’
As a teenager, I was rebellious and put my Mum through hell. Every parent who has walked through that scenario will understand that there is a breaking point where your love for your child can become conditional.
Gods breaking point with us, His rebellious children, was Jesus. Jesus is the Fathers unconditional love that covers every single mistake we have ever made. Jesus breaks every condition for love.
When I think about the moment Jesus walked into my life, the moment I met unconditional love for the first time, all I seen in His eyes was mercy and grace.
If we are to be known as His disciples, we must also show this same unconditional love. We must reflect Gods character, and if God is love then He is patient, kind, isn’t envious or boastful, he isn’t arrogant or rude, doesn’t insist on getting his own way, He does not keep a record of wrongdoings, He is not irritable or resentful, He doesn’t rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in truth. He bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things, because He never fails.
I am far from perfect and i’m okay with that because I know i’m a work in progress. I have a long way to go in my journey of learning to love without condition. Not just to the people I know and find easy to love, or perfect strangers, but to the people I have known and loved who have done wronged me. What does love without condition look like in these situations?
The answer is and always will be, Jesus.
So who do you need to look at through Gods eyes of unconditional love?
After all, we’ve all got a bit lost along the way, we all need unconditional love, mercy and grace, we all need Jesus.