1 John 3:16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Unconditional love is a difficult proposition. I hear the term thrown around all the time. People speak about loving their children unconditionally or loving their spouse unconditionally.
The reality is that unconditional love is very difficult. We are creatures of condition. Parents love children unconditionally, as long as they visit once a week and call very often. Siblings love one another unconditionally, as long as all actions are found agreeable and in alignment with expectations. Spouses love one another unconditionally, as long as the dishwasher is loaded correctly and the trash goes to the curb on time. Friends love unconditionally, as long as the thank you card for the gift arrives within three to five days… (If a gift is given with expectation of a thank you card, then it was not a gift, but a down payment on a thank you card). None of these are examples of unconditional love.
Unconditional love is love without condition. It doesn’t mean we understand. It doesn’t mean we accept. It doesn’t mean we agree. It doesn’t mean we approve. It means we love. We love our child even when the child doesn’t call for weeks on end or visit for months. We love our sibling without expectation. We love our spouse even when the socks miss the hamper. We love our church family and we work to lift up and encourage and we suppress the urge to criticize. The moment we condition love based on another person performing in a way we accept the love is no longer un-conditional.
Recently, I offered this observation to someone – “If you can’t love him enough to be supportive, at least love him enough to be silent.” Christ loved us enough that, while we were yet sinners, He died for us. Our goal is to love others like He loved us. The Bible tells us that God is transforming us into the image of His Son. Spiritually, Christ’s image is an image of unconditional love.