It’s amazing how life opens up once you decide to love unconditionally. We may think we are pretty loving people. But how do we measure up against the golden standard?
1 Corinthians 13:4-7, GOD’S WORD Translation
“Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.”
Take the Quiz: Answer seven simple questions to see if your love is unconditional…
1. Can you love someone without requiring anything in return? LET’S GET REAL: This means you can buy Valentine’s candy and flowers and not even be the least bit upset if you receive nothing. Love doesn’t think about itself.
2. Can you decide in advance that you will forgive anything? LET’S GET REAL: This means no hurt or offense is too great for the love in your heart. Adultery, betrayal, lies, and bad behavior, whether intentional or merely caused by immaturity, dampen your loving treatment of the other person. Love forgives over and over again and covers a multitude of sins. (Matthew 18:21-22 and 1 Peter 4:8)
3. Can you put someone else in front of your own needs or desires?LET’S GET REAL: There’s only one donut left in the break room (and it’s your favorite), but you know your co-worker really wants it. Since you were there first, you can take it. Or, do you step aside and offer it to your associate? Many of us will do this for our children or family. But the key is being willing to do this for strangers too. Love is kind.
4. Can you love your enemies? LET’S GET REAL: Your boss promoted everyone (even those less competent) except you. Now your boss is retiring and they are asking everyone to give money towards buying a retirement present. Do you give or do you refuse since she never did anything for you? Love even blesses its enemies. (Matthew 5:44)
5. Can you make someone else’s priority, important to you? LET’S GET REAL: You have a loved one who LOVES pets. You—not so much. Can you make room in your life for your loved one’s delight? You will be inconvenienced and maybe even annoyed. But, if having a pet is really important to them, are you willing to make it important to you? Love doesn’t insist on having its own way.
6. Can you let someone else have the glory? LET’S GET REAL: You worked all weekend to solve a challenging (and costly) problem for your team at work. You really saved the day, but who gets the credit—your manager, not you. How do you react to the injustice? Love doesn’t sing its own praises.
7. Can you believe the best? LET’S GET REAL: Your spouse tells you he is running late from work. Do you assume foul play or do you take him at his word? Love never stops believing and isn’t jealous.
A simple definition: Love is bringing your absolute best to the table every day without expecting anything in return. We shouldn’t be afraid to love like this. God loved us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8). He wants us to offer unconditional love to the people in our life. When we lose all the conditions we place on others, we become perfected in love.
1 John 4:17-19, GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
“God’s love has reached its goal in us. So we look ahead with confidence to the day of judgment. While we are in this world, we are exactly like him with regard to love. No fear exists where his love is. Rather, perfect love gets rid of fear, because fear involves punishment. The person who lives in fear doesn’t have perfect love. We love because God loved us first.”