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Diligent thought leads to answer about ‘love’

“Unconditional love, what on earth does that mean?” I wondered as I poured a hot cup of coffee and snuggled up with a blanket in my overstuffed chair.

One morning I decided I was going to analyze the phrase “unconditional love” until I understood it.

It all began at a Bible study when my discipleship pastor, Noel Campbell, declared: “We are to love everyone unconditionally.”

He made it sound so easy, it sure sounded plausible; a very good thing for us Christians to do. The day I decided to put it into practice, however, I found myself confounded on how to accomplish such a task. I knew I had failed my attempts at trying it.

“What really is unconditional love?” I questioned myself with some frustration. The word itself should easily tell all.

“Unconditional obviously means no conditions. So what is a condition?” I asked.

Does it mean no expectations? Does it mean no right or wrong? Does it mean no parameters?

It certainly must indicate no boundaries, I thought as I sipped my coffee. Or maybe it encompasses everything goes, everything and anything is OK. That thought left me squirming in my chair.

From that point, the next step for me was to connect my idea of the word “love” with God’s definitions. I will love you without conditions. I will love you without expectations. I will love you with no parameters, no boundaries or limits at all.

So is this what unconditional love looks like? Hmmm, I think I need another cup of coffee, I mused as I tried to get my mind around these ideas.

“Unconditional love is like taking a trip to outer space.” I blurted out loud. “When I think about it, the universe with its stars and planets is endless, limitless and has no boundaries, but yet there is order.”

I sat back and sighed, I just went beyond what I can comprehend. Unconditional love is a phrase of just two words but it is as vast as the universe. It is something so immense that it cannot come under containment.

Well, it’s time for another cup of coffee, I decided, trying to escape my confusion.

Who can ever truly love this way? I gave up. It was then I prayed, “Lord, how can this kind of love ever exist?”

Suddenly a Scripture popped into my head: “For I am convinced that neither death or life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ our Lord.” (Romans 8: 37-39 NIV)

“Yes! That is the answer,” I squealed. “Jesus is the one who loves unconditionally. He is The One who loves us no matter what, under any condition, any circumstance and with no limits.

“He is also the one who can give me the ability to love others that way. I can’t love unconditionally with out His help.”

Well, my coffeepot may have been empty, but my heart was full and ready to face the day with new insight and understanding. I decided to give this unconditional love thing another try.

Linda Hanke, mother of two children and grandmother to four grandsons ages 1 1/2 to 9 years old, is a social worker with Olive Crest, placing children in loving, caring foster homes.