Unconditional Love? Really?

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Have you ever owned a pet?  If so, you know the special bond that takes place between animal and owner.  Remember the day you went to visit the litter to pick out your kitty and how you instantly fell in love and had to have her?!

Our dog is such a sweet addition to our home.  He is always happy to be nearby.   In fact, he follows me faithfully from room to room as I do my work.  He wiggles with excitement when we come near to him.  He is pleased to be snuggled up with us and is content just laying on the floor awaiting the time for a walk or to play fetch with his owners.  His attitude of love toward me actually improves my mood.  I enjoy the fact that he wants to be with me and I can sense his loving affection for me.  He does not demand anything in return for his love and faithfulness to us.

Our dog loves us unconditionally.  Even when we leave him alone a little too long or don’t have time to walk him or play catch.  He does not change his level of love for us, he doesn’t decide to boycott his loving “welcome home” until we give him what he wants.  He doesn’t refuse to be hugged when we have just told him “no”; nor does he threaten to leave us — ever.

A puppy’s love is unconditional.  Is my love unconditional?  Is yours? An honest answer is no. How about recording each time you are tempted to put a condition on your love?  You know what I mean: “He’s crazy if he thinks he’s getting any lovin’ tonight after that comment.”  “No way I am taking her out to dinner tonight, she is so ungrateful.”

Can you imagine how our relationships would improve, if we loved a little more like a puppy and dropped the conditions?

Just a thought.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NIV

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 NIV

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.1 John 4:7-21 NIV [emphasis added]

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