Last evening I was at a Celebration of Life event for an 80 year old who had definitely made his mark on the world. His wife had preceded him by a few years and she was someone that would welcome Emma in to her home, as a friend of her granddaughter’s. Emma’s attraction to the woman? Well, she made the most fantabulous chocolate chip cookies. But, I digress.
One of the people that stood up and spoke was someone who was the age of the man’s children and yet was not a “biological” child, rather the child of his brother’s. I could piece together a pathway, though I do not know the details, of how their bond was created. She spoke of the “unconditional love” this man had provided her over the years. Still another came up and spoke of a circumstance that certainly twenty plus years ago would have, and still today, could have brought judgement. Still, “unconditional love” was displayed in the eyes of the speaker.
And here it is, 4:32 in the morning of Good Friday, and the term “unconditional love” simply keeps rattling around my brain.
A quick Google search of the term Unconditional Love will soon show you over 17 million results. That’s a lot of results and thus, a variety of interpretations. I zoomed in on this…
“According to the book Real Love, unconditional love is, in essence, true love — so different from the kind of love most of us have known all our lives that it deserves a definition of its own. Unconditional love is caring about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves.”
How often do any of us find unconditional love? Are we able to provide this love to anyone? As I write this I cannot help but think of the love that Christ showed us on that Good Friday a couple thousand plus years ago. And yet, that love is conditional, is it not? For Jesus requires us to profess our faith and belief in him. John 8:12 (“follows me”) John 10:9 (“the gate”) John 11:25 (“believes in me”)
What a fabulous love of sacrifice our Christ showed us though there is the requirement, at least I believe that I believe so, of a relationship between myself and He.
WRITER’S UPDATE: To see more on the theology of this please visit Easter and Unconditional Love
Setting aside judgement of others, as best we can, and accepting them for who they are is a Great Love. Is this what is meant by unconditional love? I know this may seem like the rantings of a mad man however, words matter to me and I like to choose them carefully. Splitting hairs is fun though probably a sickness of mine.
It seems that we, as humans, become more accepting of others as we begin to accept ourselves. For some this may happen early in life. For myself, and I think most others, it seems to begin in our thirties and really picks up steam the older we get. Why? The mistakes we all make allow us to gain perspective as time increases the distance between the day we made a bad choice and decreases in time to the day we will stand and be judged.
We, as a people, need forgiveness from others and, with time, learn how to offer it to others.
We, as a people, want acceptance from others and, with time, learn how to accept others for who they are.
To live a life that offers love, forgiveness and acceptance while striving to achieve the Standard He asked us to work towards, well, that is one heck of a life.