Learning to Love
Can we love unconditionally in our own strength?
Does it ever seem like there’s more apathy out there, swirling around, than love? It’s not too hard to understand why. Life is hard. Survival can decimate our energy and optimism. People get on our nerves (and we get on their nerves). Perhaps our insatiable appetite for technology is less about appreciating innovation and more about avoiding one another. Maybe loving people unconditionally takes more guts than we've got.
What is unconditional love anyway? Or maybe a better question is what is conditional love?
I think conditional love is loving someone as long as they make me feel good or as long as I'm in the mood. That must mean that unconditional love is loving someone even when I don't feel like it. Hmm. How can inherently selfish beings be instruments of selfless love? I believe I need to look beyond myself and remember that I can do all things with God's help. Where else could I find the extra joy, extra peace, extra patience, extra kindness, extra goodness, extra loyalty, extra gentleness, and extra self-control needed to love difficult people? I believe God is the only inexhaustible source of these good things.
So, for me, love is about living out my faith. The more I pursue God's promises, the more I’ll want to share those promises with others. The more I desire God's best for me, the more I’ll want to help others become their best. When this gets hard, God tells me to remember that he will reward my efforts (2 Timothy 4:8) and that even Jesus focused on his reward to endure loving us (Hebrews 12:2-3).
Unconditional love is about loving beyond my feelings, and I need God's help for that.
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