Have you ever stopped and wondered why there are so many songs written about love? Love is something we yearn for as human beings. When we experience it, it gives us a sense of belonging. God wants us to experience unconditional love, and He desires for us to share this kind of love with everyone around us.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31, HCSB)
If we look at love in the dictionary, the first definition usually says love is “a strong or constant affection.” If we look at love in the Bible, it states:
“Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for languages, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, HCSB)
The dictionary describes love as a feeling, while the Bible explains love as a verb. Love is an affection that comes at the expense of consistent work and effort. It requires constant renewal from God every day, and the above scriptures serve as a great guideline for how we can practice love in any relationship. While the dictionary’s definition of love is conditional, God’s love is unconditional.
“I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19, HCSB)
When we make a conscious effort to stay connected to God, we can learn how to love unconditionally. We won’t be perfect at it because we’re imperfect humans. However, God sees every good and bad attempt, and wants us to strive for as many good attempts as we possibly can. He loves us through our good and bad attempts at love. He loves us when people judge us. He loves us even in the moments when we think He doesn’t.
I believe the purest form of love comes from God. The standard of His love isn’t based on what humans say and do because He isn’t a human. He walked the earth in human form through Jesus, yet, He dwells in the spiritual realm and thus, cannot be boxed into a social construct or anything created by humans. Our minds want a concrete idea it can wrap around, so we try to compare God’s love to the conditional love we experience from people. However, Ephesians 3:16-19 reminds us that the human mind can’t fully understand God’s unconditional love or its parameters. Love is challenging, but the results that come from the challenge are more rewarding than not extending love at all. May we strive to experience and extend God’s unconditional love always, in all ways. It brings healing to many wounds, and it is the key to experiencing a fulfilling life.
For further reading, look up Romans 5:6-8 and Romans 8:35-39 for two examples of God’s unconditional love.