I have spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to love unconditionally. It's the kind of love that God has for us. People like to throw that term around, but I’m not sure many understand what it really means to love someone regardless of their actions. Yes, I’ve heard the “I love you, but I hate your behavior” line. I’m just not buying it.
How many people decide to marry thinking it is going to last forever and then it ends in divorce? Too many. Instead of planning for a lifetime together, people today plan for the possibility of divorce. Prenuptial agreements are very popular for successful people who want to protect themselves from losing their assets, in case things don’t work out. So, considering the high divorce rate, does that mean people do not enter the state of holy matrimony loving each other unconditionally? Marriage is a decision to love until “death do you part.” You are supposed to work on it if there are problems, not throw up your hands and head to the nearest divorce lawyer. But can you love a spouse who breaks their vows and cheats on you? Or does the hurt and anger and broken trust make it impossible to get back what you had?
If we can’t find unconditional love at the marriage altar, where can we find it? It’s easy to love friends unconditionally when times are good, but what about when they hurt you, distance themselves, betray you? Are we really willing to turn the other cheek? Do we still love them unconditionally? Are we ready to forgive so easily? Does a broken heart trump unconditional love? I think the pain of hurt makes it impossible to go back to a state of pure unconditional love. Something is broken, maybe trust. Regaining 100% trust may be a nearly impossible thing to do.
The only place I find genuine unconditional love to exist is between parent and child. That is one relationship where, no matter what the child does or says, the parent is going to love them and help them get through it. A good parent never turns their back on a child no matter what the cost, no matter how big the heartache. Somehow, when it’s your child, you can get past the anger, the hurt, and broken trust and stand by them. You keep trying because that is what unconditional love is in its purest state. It is as close to God's love as we mere mortals will experience on earth.
Just think of that moment when your first born was placed in your arms for the first time. You know, from that moment on, that this new life is yours to protect, love and cherish forever. The love you feel almost takes your breath away. That is unconditional love.