By Pam Horton
We had Valentine’s Day in February. My husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary in March. Easter is coming up in April. Spring is about to be sprung. It is a season of love.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NKJV), “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
A quick internet search brought up as many as eight different kinds of love and as few as three. I would suggest, as Christians, the only love is “agape”—unconditional love.
Some people say they love their jobs, chocolate, or even money. This is a love of things. Things don’t love you back. I would venture they don’t really love things, but they probably like them very much.
Of course, we love our family, we should love ourselves, and we love our friends. This is relational love. I believe any relational love must be unconditional. There are different levels of relational love, but I still say all relational love should be unconditional.
I know lots of people who put conditions on their “love.” Do you love unconditionally? Let me give you some examples:
- Does your child know that if they really screw up, no matter what, you still love them?
- If your parents make you angry, do you shout, “I hate you!”
- Is your spouse secure in the knowledge of your love?
- Are you a reliable friend?
- Can people count on you?
- Do you put others before yourself?
- Are you taking time to take care of you?
We are commanded, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31 NKJV).
If we are in relational love and holding conditions on that love, we are in direct violation of the words of Christ. We are also endangering our relationships by not giving of ourselves wholly. If we place conditions on our love, we are saying “We only love you when (or if) ….”
Can you imagine the mess we would be in if God only loved us when, or if? But He loves us with agape love, and because of it, we are to love others the same way. 1 John 4:19 very plainly tells us, “We love because he first loved us.”
Because God first loved us, He sent His Son to die on a cross to save us from an eternity separated from Him. Can you imagine how much God must love us to allow His Son to die for the sins of others? I can’t fathom it. It is much like Abraham being willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac, in Genesis 22:7-8 and Isaac laying down on the altar. Unquestioning love. Agape love.
If God can love us, even when (or if), then we must show that love to others. I think that statement sums this blog up nicely, so I will end it there.
Love to all.
Pam Horton grew up believing in Jesus. As a teenager and young adult, she turned away from her faith for a few years. Once she came back around to understand that it’s not about religion, but a relationship, she began a never-ending quest to grow closer to God. Through this process, she has learned to stress less and choose joy. Pam has published seven nonfiction books that are available through Amazon. She has also written articles for the Military Counseling Initiative and Youth Worker, and she is featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grandparents. Pam and her husband, Jim, own NewDirection Life Coaching, where they encourage others to move positively forward.