What is unconditional love? To love someone without exception, regardless of their flaws, actions, or choices.
This is how God loves us. Even knowing that we are flawed and that we will make mistake after bumbling mistake, He loves us. Even though our love for Him is sometimes contingent on our circumstances, His love is unwavering. Even when we wander away to explore the world, He is always waiting with open arms to welcome us home.
Sometimes we waltz right into a situation that He warned us against, and the consequences can be brutal, but He stands with us, reminding us that He will never abandon us, and that He will always love us.
Unconditional love can be a difficult concept for some people.
For some, love feels like something they have to earn, and so many misconceptions—strengthened my memories, experiences, bad relationships, and low self worth—leave us feeling like love is as fragile as an egg shell.
• If I get sad or angry, they will judge me as negative, and they’ll withdraw from me. I need to maintain an upbeat attitude all the time.
• If I ask for a favor or need help, I’ll come off as needy or a burden, and they won’t want to deal with that. I have to be independent.
• If I make a mistake, they’ll never forgive me. I have to make sure I do everything just right.
• If I don’t meet their expectations, they’ll ridicule and reject me because I’m not good enough. I have to excel at everything so they’ll accept me.
• If I don’t go along with what they want, whether I want to or not, they’ll stop spending time with me and find another friend. I need to always be agreeable and flexible.
• If I gain weight, I’ll lose value, and they’ll be too disgusted to love me. I need to be skinny.
• If I say no when they ask me for something, I’ll come across as selfish. I need to be reliable and helpful.
But the thing is, you can’t earn love. Love is given.
Some people believe they’re simply unlovable. They can’t see how valuable they are, and sometimes that’s because they’ve never been shown or told.
• I don’t even like myself, so why would anyone else love me?
• I don’t look like everyone else, so clearly it makes sense that I’m not accepted.
• I’m handicapped. Who would ever marry me?
• I have too many scars. No one wants to deal with my baggage.
• My parent left when I was little, so I’m obviously not worth sticking around for.
• My girlfriend/boyfriend cheated on me. There must be something wrong with me.
• No one ever wants to be my friend. I’m clearly not worth caring about.
But no one is unlovable, because God knew you and loved you before you were even born. He rejoiced in you. Regardless of what the world says, what your experiences are whispering into your head, you are beautifully and wonderfully made. And you’re lovable.
Some believe they’re unworthy of love because of their past.
• I’ve made so many mistakes
• I rejected God. I all but spat in His face
• I took a life
• I’ve stolen, lied, or committed adultery. Aren’t those against God’s laws?
• I’m a prostitute
• I’m a drug addict
• I’m worthless
But no matter what you’ve said or done in the past, or what you believe to be true about yourself, grace is always there. When Jesus hung on the cross and looked upon the people responsible for his torment, he didn’t say, “You’re unworthy.” He said, “Father forgive them.” Jesus was willing to love and forgive the people who tortured and crucified him… Nothing you’ve done can stand against the power of that love.
He forgave murderers, redeemed prostitutes, made flawed people into disciples. He loves the weary, the broken, and the hopeless.
We’re all human, and at some point in our lives, most of us have fallen prey to the lies that we are aren’t loved because we haven’t earned it, because we’re unlovable or unworthy of love.
I pray that you realize how loved you really are, and that God’s love for you—yes, YOU—is unconditional.