Most of us have heard someone say that we need to learn to love another person unconditionally. I have said that myself! The problem is it just isn’t true!
When you say you love someone unconditionally that means there are no strings attached and no matter what they do you just keep right on loving them. That thought is important; however, it does not accurately convey what love is all about. Maybe an illustration will help.
Many of us have another important person in our life. It may be a husband or wife, a parent, or a child. Maybe it’s just a close friend. Is that person perfect? Does that person ever “mess up” and hurt your feelings? Does that person ever bring you pain or sorrow or heartache into your life? I think you know the answer to all those questions.
The truth of the matter is rather than thinking we can love another person unconditionally; we should learn to love other people sacrificially. It will cost you to love another person. At times there will be pain and heartache involved in loving another person. At times there will be a misunderstanding or words spoken in haste that you will later regret. Yet, you will just keep on loving and we keep on trying to do your best to develop a relationship that is healthy and sustainable and growing in grace. That is because you are loving sacrificially. You even love your pet sacrificially when you take them for a walk and take the “poop paper” with you. If you loved them unconditionally, you would not care what they did. But by loving them sacrificially, you are willing to clean up after them and keep right on loving them! Sacrifice produces real love!
Ask a new mom if childbirth was a pleasant experience. She sacrificed a LOT to bring that life into the world. It was not “unconditional”. It was very conditional. It was not without a lot of pain and discomfort. Yet, she did it anyway and may end up doing it AGAIN!!! Sacrificial love has no limits!!!
When I started thinking about love in the terms of “sacrificial love” rather than “unconditional love” everything started making sense. I will love you, but it will cost me at times. You may love me, but I promise it will cost you times; patience, finances, forgiveness, misunderstandings, frustrations, and many other aspects found in every relationship. Yet, if we keep on loving each other it is because love requires sacrifice. Think about the fact that God loves us. He does not love us unconditionally. It cost Him the very life of His son for us to have a relationship with Him. That is the best example of sacrificial love I could ever imagine.
On Valentine’s Day let me remind you that today is the day of love! Today is a day of sacrifice! You do not love a perfect person because a perfect person does not exist. But you do love other people; you just do not love anyone unconditionally. There are certain things other people could do that would end your relationship once and for all. Everyone has their limits. However, if you love other people sacrificially you will keep on loving them! You will learn to forgive, and you will learn to realize we all cause heartache and pain to other people at different times, and you will keep right on loving them anyway. Sacrificial love is the best love of all
I trust you will all have a Happy Valentine’s Day. Know that I love you and care about you even if it cost me time, effort, energy, and money to keep on loving you. I am willing to do it because you are worth loving. I have learned that sacrificial love is the greatest love a human can express.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
TIP: There is no such thing as unconditional love!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm