Is It Possible To Love Unconditionally As Jesus Does?
In chapter 15 of the book of John, Jesus tells his disciples,
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
His advice is simple — we’re supposed to offer unconditional love to each other. But unfortunately, this can be hard at times.
As humans, we are innately flawed. We make mistakes, but we can still try to love unconditionally as Jesus did. To learn how to love unconditionally, draw inspiration from the Bible.
1. Embrace social outcasts.
Jesus didn’t just spend time with people who were respected by the church and society. Instead, he spent time with social outcasts and sinners. He washed the feet of prostitutes and did not shun lepers.
Think about your own life. Where can you offer more support and understanding to the people who are marginalized by society? How can you be kinder and more loving to social outcasts?
2. Be kind to strangers.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus tells the story of a Jewish man who was beaten and left on the side of the room. Several people passed by and ignored the man, but eventually, a Samaritan stopped and helped him. The Samaritan offered help even though Samaritans and Jews are traditional enemies.
You cannot just offer unconditional love to the people in your family or your community. You need to extend the idea of love and compassion to everyone in your life, even if they are traditionally someone you think of as an enemy. Find ways to build empathy for other people, even when you don’t understand them.
3. Love your family.
In some cases, it’s easier to love outsiders. It can be easy to offer unconditional love in theory. It’s often harder in reality. It can be hard to practice unconditional love with your family who leaves their dirty laundry on the floor or snaps at you when they’re tired.
However, it’s critical to love these people. Consider Jesus’ first miracle. It wasn’t for his friends or a stranger. Instead, it was for his mother. His mother asked him to help when they were at a wedding and the hosts ran out of wine.
He could have easily just said the party didn’t need more wine, but he loved and respected his mother, so he found a way to help. By saying yes, Jesus practiced unconditional love for his mother.
Forgiveness is at the heart of unconditional love. Jesus says to forgive seventy times seven. This doesn’t mean that you should just forgive someone 490 times and then stop. It also doesn’t mean that you should submit yourself to toxic behavior or stay in abusive relationships.
It means that you should practice forgiveness as a critical part of your lifestyle. You should not hold grudges or be bitter.
5. Avoid jealousy.
It’s also important to avoid jealousy. Think of the prodigal son. When he returned, his father showered him with unconditional love, but his brother became jealous and angry.
When you’re jealous, you don’t accept the other person. You don’t give them the love they deserve. Unconditional love needs to be free of conditions. It needs to fully accept the other person.
By practicing unconditional love, you can strengthen your relationship with others and yourself, but you will also strengthen your relationship with God.
As written in 1 John 4:8
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”