What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (32) He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things Romans 8:31-32
Since the desire to be known by another and the subsequent fear of losing that relationship is at the core of our hearts, then, it is not surprising our ideal relational quality is unconditional love. This kind of love says we are very precious, and that we are loved without regard for our personal qualities or for any action we might take. It cannot be earned, is undeserved, and does not need to be reciprocated. It says, “I love you just the way you are, no matter what.”
Unconditional love is an idealized condition. We look for it when we choose a spouse, but it rarely occurs in its perfect form once when we become adults. It is probably best captured by the kind of love a mother has for her newborn baby. Yet, we continue to long for this perfect form of love. I have seen clients do strange things to keep their spouse or lover in a relationship. Some of us will change ourselves so that we don’t displease or disappoint our beloved. We might hold back parts of ourselves since we secretly fear our beloved might reject or misunderstand us. A surprising number of us would rather stay in an unhappy relationship rather than having to face being alone.
I believe our desire for unconditional love is a God-given spiritual condition. When we look for another to love us this way, we are really seeking God. And, only God is capable of establishing and maintaining this type of relationship with us. Right now, God is pursuing us to be his beloved. We were designed at the moment of our creation to be his. This relationship was damaged when we, through Adam and Eve’s actions, rejected him for ourselves. God, however has made a way for back for us. He gave us his son, Jesus, as a sacrifice to pay for our mistakes. Even now God is waiting for us to see his love offerings and to come running back to him. This means we will need to recognize that what we have deeply longed for is a spiritual need AND only possible with God.
- How have you looked for unconditional love?
- Which of your relationships can you show your true self?
- What your reaction to the idea that unconditional love is a spiritual condition?
- What gets in the way of you spending time with God and showing him your true self?
Dear God, Your love for me is outrageous. I am a mess. I frequently avoid you by choosing to do other things instead of spending time with you. Forgive me for ignoring you. Your patient love is undeserved.
Optional Readings Isaiah 49:14–16a John 3:16–17 1 John 4:9–10