Can love be unconditional?

Can love be unconditional? I encountered this question while browsing some of the forums in WordPress, and I have to admit that it provoked some thought in my mind. Actually, this particular question was the subject of a post written in the Danielle Keeler blog, on July 30, 2011. That is to say, that this post of the same name, which you are hopefully reading with interest, is my personal response to a question that is easily answered coming from a Biblical perspective. With all do respect, this question is in fact answered in the following verse:

1 John 4:19, “We love, because He first loved us.”

Short verse? Yes. But it yet entails nearly the whole of a mini-Christ’s way of life. Christ set the most incredible example of love that any of us could ever have, and He did it by dying and rising again. There are many who love conditionally, selfishly, few who are able to love unconditionally, fewer who would be willing to die for the ones they love, only One who possessed perfect love unto torturous death and to beautiful life again.

Notice that I said able to love unconditionally. Those who do love unconditionally cannot do it by their own strength or brain-power. All of us are born depraved, sinful, only able to love for our own sinful and selfish desires. Any love that we give can only be unconditional by the power of the One who unconditionally loved us first. “We love, because He first loved us.” So in one sense, the answer to the previously mentioned question is yes. Love can be unconditional, but it is only practiced in this form by those who have surrendered their lives to Christ and who are empowered by His Holy Spirit for service to His glory. Speaking in humanly finite and corrupted terms, there is no way for love to be unconditional, so the answer is no. But as Paul the Apostle encouraged the church….

Philippians 4:13, ” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

It is only by the power and also by the grace of Christ that any of us are ever able to love even as Christ loved us. He is our only attainable source of complete and pure love, given to us in the freedom of forgiveness and salvation, so that we might give it to others in the works of service by which we follow our Savior’s example.

4 Responses to “Can love be unconditional?”
  1. I absolutely love your explanation of the answer to this question using verses from the Bible. I will admit when I first saw the question, I was like “yes, of course! Just think of Christ. His love was unconditional for us, just as you have so beautifully described. Thank you for your post.

  2. Thank you for that Sierra. Recently I have been struggling with loving a few friends as I should, and that reminded me why I continue to love, and what that love should look like. So thank you. I’ll be making a post about that struggle in the next week.

    And your post reminded me of a certain song….

  3. I’m glad that this post was so encouraging to you guys. Honestly, I think that this is probably one of my better posts. But it was something that God laid on my heart to write about, so He should be getting the glory. 🙂 Remember that He is always to faithful to strengthen you to love, even when it seems impossible.

  4. The Cleatis Construction says:

    This is something I also intend to address in one of my own posts, albeit at a later date. Your answer is on the mark, and to further clarify what unconditional love looks like, one only has to read 1 Corinthians 13. It’s a passage that many people know, but few take the time to understand. This passage in the Authorized King James Bible uses the word “charity”, but the passage speaks of unconditional love. Thank you for bringing this perspective to light.

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