I consider myself to be blessed beyond what I deserve. I have wonderful family and friends, and I can honestly say that I have felt loved my entire life. Over the past two years, God has really taught me what unconditional love looks like and what it means. A major device in His orchestration of this lesson for me was though working as a staffer at CentriKid. Though camp, I saw unconditional love in a lot of ways.
Unconditional love is stopping everything you’re doing to talk to a friend who needs to vent.
It is showing people love even when they are hard to love.
It is saying up very late and waking up very early.
It is seeing the needs of others and helping meet them, even when you’re exhausted and just want to sleep.
It is spending long hours on the road traveling to spend just a few precious hours with dear friends.
It forsakes selfish intentions.
This past summer my team memorized Philippians 2:1-11. When I think of unconditional love, the phrases “count others more significant than yourselves” and “look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” from this passage come to mind. When I think about counting others as more significant than myself, it can hurt my pride at times—especially when I see people and have thoughts like “I’m better than them” or “Where are they going with their life?” Who am I to think that? I’m as much of a sinner as they, and I’ve done nothing to deserve the love and grace that has been given to all of us. If only we would receive it.
I have experienced unconditional love from a wonderful perspective of camp, friends, and family. I have also experienced conditional love. Conditional love is fulfilling, for a moment, as long as you do something to earn it. Conditional love can disguise itself in the form of people who you thought were once good friends. It can ease its way into our lives, and soon it’s what we cling to; a sense of being loved with work involved to deserve it.
How often do we let conditional love creep into our hearts and steal us away to the idols within? This is one of the questions that has been most convicting in my life. In writing, it has such a simple solution. Doesn’t it make more sense to devote your heart and love to the One who loves you unconditionally, rather than long for conditional and weak things of this world?
Our selfish desires keep this simple solution from being carried out. My prayer is that we see past the finite things we desire and focus on the things that are not of this world. Let us invest our time, energy, love, affection, and emotion into Christ. Let all that we do be to glorify Him, and let His grace overwhelm us.
The greatest love that the world has ever known is in the truth of the Gospel, and thank you Lord that it is everlasting, enough, and unconditional.