This post is a follow-up to “Conditions of Love” from two weeks ago. It is also partly a reply to one commenter’s suggestion that God’s love is preconditional.
Unconditional love is the choice
to love a person
who does not deserve it.
Unconditional = Freedom. No conditions, no pre-conditions, no post-conditions, no conditions whatsoever. Something freely offered. Not dependent on anything, especially the acceptance of receiver. As Peter Kreeft once wrote, “Every gift requires two freedoms: the giver’s and the receiver’s.”
Love = see 1 Corinthians 13
Person = A human being, made in the image of God, with the spark of the Divine within their soul. I do not use the word individual because this word implies separateness. The Greek word for individual was idiota, and we can see what English word derives from that! We are all connected. All people are part of a community of persons. Like it or not, other people help define who we are. You can only see your humanity reflected in the faces of others around you.
Choice = A matter of the will. Free will. Free choice. It is debatable on how many free will choices we actually make in our daily lives, but it is there none the less. In fact, it is a choice in itself to use it or not, to go with the flow or make a stand. Our will, along with the ability to know, is how we are created in the image of God. Without free will, love for God and love for others would be idolatry. It would be dead and stagnate, not life-giving.
Do not deserve it = None of us deserve God’s love. And if you are honest with yourself, you do not deserve the love of another person either. All love is pure gift, even when we slap conditions on it. Pick any person that you love and are loved by in return. If they could read all your selfish thoughts and feel all your ugly feelings about others, they probably would not love you either. But they do. You cannot hide all of those thoughts and feelings, good or bad, from someone who knows and loves you. They love you despite yourself. God loves you despite yourself too. That is why Jesus died on the Cross—to bridge the gap between God and us, to bridge the gap between each other.
And so, unconditional love is the choice to love a person who does not deserve it. God does it. We are called to do it too. Everyday, the actions you choose to make, or not make, reflect this.
In the evening of our life, we shall be judged by love, namely, by the sincerity of our love for God, for our neighbor, for our soul. — St. John of the Cross