What is Unconditional Love?

The word “love” is one is that we use to convey a passionate feeling towards someone or something. It’s a word that we often use as an expression or a selective emotion but without the heartfelt conviction of true sentiment. It has become a popular word in our vocabulary, but do we really understand what the word “love” means? Do we know what unconditional love is?

Webster’s Dictionary defines love as:

“(1): strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal love for a child> (2): warm attachment, enthusiasm or devotion <love of the sea> (3): unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another as the fatherly concern of God for humankind, or brotherly concern for others; a person’s adoration of God”.

Many of us use the word to simply express an emotion – ie: “I love this hat”, or “I love chocolate”. But in truth, there is no “emotional feeling” towards the hat or the chocolate. It may be an obsession or an excitement, something that delights us or that we have s a preference for, but we don’t have any emotional attachment to either of them.

In today’s world, love is often expressed loosely and without commitment, and comes with conditions. This is clearly noted by the number of divorces that are filed each year and it’s shocking to see that half of the marriages in 2009 in the US ended in divorce. And according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri, the divorce rate in America for first marriage vs second or third marriage is: 50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second marriages and 74% of third marriages end in divorce.

So, when these marriage partners said “I do” at the altar, there were some conditions to their love that weren’t realized until afterwards because if the heartfelt meaning of the word “love” was part of their relationship, they would have overcome their differences and worked things out.

The affect of this conditional love is that there is no inner security that gives us the strength to have a happy and successful life because the attempts at love fail and are hurtful. Adults becomes angry and non-trusting and children grow up with an understanding that love has conditions that can’t always be met; that love is only temporary; and that love is something only we can have for ourselves to make our own lives successful.

However, this is not love because love overcomes everything, forgives everything and covers a multitude of sins. (1Peter 4:8) And this love is called, unconditional love.

When Jesus went to the cross, He took on all of our sins and our hatred and our sickness. If Jesus was not God, He would likely have chosen who He’d die for because there were few people who truly loved Him and so to become a sacrifice for anyone else would not have happened. Would you die for someone who was a child murderer and who would take your child if they could? I know I couldn’t do it.

But Jesus did! His love wasn’t conditional upon who we are or what sin we’ve commited. It wasn’t even conditional on whether or not we accepted His sacrifice. He became our redemption anyway so that ALL of us would be saved if we accepted it. He died for the men who scourged Him, for those who cursed Him and for those who hated Him. Jesus died for every person that ever lived and yet not one of us deserved it. His love for us was unconditional. He didn’t point a finger and say that our sin was too great or too hideous. He didn’t choose some of us over others. He died for ALL of us and allowed us all to be forgiven, regardless of what we have done in our lives. This is unconditional love!

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for His friends”

… John 15:13

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