Understanding Unconditional Love

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When we talk about God the term “Unconditional Love” often makes its way into the conversation. We use it when we talk about the way parents should feel toward their children. We use it when we talk about most relationships - you should love unconditionally. But what does unconditional love really mean, and what does it have to do with our faith.

Unconditional Love Defined
We use the word “love” all the time, but it’s one of those terms that defies most definition. We love ice cream. We love our dog. We love our parents. We love our boyfriend or girlfriend. Each time we use the word love, but every use of it in those sentences elicited a different idea of love. While we can debate the definition of love all day, unconditional love is a bit different. It uses all those definitions of love, but unconditional love means that there is just love without preconditions or expectations. We just love. Whether it’s friendship or romantic or parental, unconditional love means we just care.

Unconditional Love is About Action
Even if we know what unconditional love is, that doesn’t mean it only deserves lip service. Unconditional love requires action. Instead of just focusing on how we feel, we show others that we care about them and don’t expect a single thing in return. This is how God looks at all of us. He loves us whether or not we love Him back. He doesn’t ask us anything in return. He knows we’re all sinners, and he loves us no matter what. He shows us that love every day.

Unconditional Love is Adaptable
There is no “one right way” to love someone. Some people need more attention than others. Some need touch while others find love in small words. When we love unconditionally, we adapt to what others need. God does the same thing for us. He doesn’t love each one of us the same. He gives us the love we need as we need it. We should think of love the same way.

Unconditional Love isn’t Easy
When we talk about unconditional love, it sounds all rosy and beautiful, but love can be hard. Relationships take work, because sometimes people are difficult. Sometimes we’re difficult. When we show unconditional love, it comes with no expectations. This means loving someone through the hard times. It means forgiving them when they do something wrong. It means being honest with others even when that honesty can hurt a little bit. It also means loving people even when you don’t think they deserve any love. God reminds us to love our enemies. He reminds us to love others as we want to be loved. Think about some of your worst, most selfish moments…God loved you anyhow. That’s how we need to look at one another.

Unconditional Love Goes Both Ways
Unconditional love isn’t just something others should give to us. We also need to give unconditional love to others. When we’re only focused on ourselves and what we need, we’re not being good at harboring unconditional love for others. We need to put ourselves in others’ shoes and see the world through their eyes. This doesn’t mean we always give of ourselves to please others. No one should take advantage of you or abuse you. We still have to love ourselves a bit, but it means showing love when others need it. It means learning to love even in the tough times, just like how God loves us even when we aren’t the most deserving. And just as God loves us unconditionally, we need to return that unconditional love to Him. Showing God unconditional love means not expecting anything from God, but knowing He loves us and that we love Him, no matter what.

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Your Citation
Mahoney, Kelli. "Understanding Unconditional Love." Learn Religions, Aug. 27, 2020, learnreligions.com/understanding-unconditional-love-712464. Mahoney, Kelli. (2020, August 27). Understanding Unconditional Love. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/understanding-unconditional-love-712464 Mahoney, Kelli. "Understanding Unconditional Love." Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/understanding-unconditional-love-712464 (accessed January 26, 2021).