Unconditional love just kind of happens. There is no point where you decide that someone in your life is up for nomination to be loved unconditionally. And I don’t think you even realize that you love someone unconditionally until there become conditions, at least that is my experience. I think unconditional love stems from a heart connection, a soul connection. Someone gets in so deeply to your inner core and they forever hold a piece of you, the highest level of blackmail.
Giving that kind of love feels really nice, it’s kind of like a deep-sigh-of-contentment kind of nice. You feel really good because loving someone so deeply gives you a sense of accomplishment, makes you feel human in a good way, carries a feeling of completion and of being whole. If love truly conquers all like the Bible says, than loving unconditionally can make someone feel powerful, like you own the key to controlling the world. Being someone who is both a giver and receiver of unconditional love, I am familiar with the conditions that would make any average love grow cold….I mean like, we’ve become best friends, these conditions and me.
Condition Number 1-The recipient changes, they are no longer the person that you grew to love. Their interests change, their life changes, they change. This typically happens with family, people grow up and get married and have babies. All of a sudden the person that you used to dish your deepest secrets to and have all night giggle fests with becomes someone that you can hardly have a conversation with. There is no more common denominator….except for that unconditional love that you both possess for each other. (hint: motivation for this post!)
Condition Number 2-The recipient screws up royally. They stab you so horribly in the back that, in the deepest heat of the moment, you feel nothing but hatred. You are so angry, so hurt, that you cannot even make sense of being able to forgive and move past. All of those lovely memories and happy moments quickly fade away and you see nothing but the moment. The day after, and sometimes even the week after, the unconditional love takes over (often, unexpectedly) and then everything is okay again. The broken bones are healing, the cuts are surface deep, and new memories are being made…even in the foggy room full of awkward communication.
Condition Number 3-I think this one could be compared to the remaining friends and family of a suicide, or the significant other in a case of abuse. This is the kind of condition where the person hurts you for their own selfish motivation. Their head is so far up where the sun don’t shine that they are blind to the damage that they are doing to you, the giver. They pull every available resource from you for their own gain, and then ask for more. This is the hardest condition to not give in to, this is one of the most difficult plays of unconditional love. Your love may make you feel like you are indestructible, but you are not…and their actions are causing you to crumble. You want to walk away, but your love will not allow you. You justify their feelings for them with words, all the while their justification is through actions, in which you are the recipient. And yet your love still stands.
These are just some of the examples of the conditions that make us aware of a love that we probably never knew that we were capable of. Sure it’s difficult to give unconditional love in situations like conditions 2 and 3. But there are situations like condition 1, or loving your spouse or your children…it just comes naturally. Giving love unconditionally is a whole lot easier than receiving it, that’s for sure, especially if you are the guilty party of number 2.
For me though, as a recipient of that sort of love, the hardest kind for me to accept is the kind I do not deserve. I have had friends and family forgive me for the deepest of hurts, and I still have a hard time receiving it. And when I have done something wrong, intentional or unintentional, it is hardest of all to accept that Jesus has already paid my debt with his unconditional love for me thousands of years before I was ever born. It’s humbling, that sort of love. It makes me want to try harder to love without conditions, to walk out the love of Jesus in my relationships, to search within my heart for that love that conquers a multitude of sins.