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Does Unconditional Love Really Exist?
Where do You Fit?
Are you a person who demonstrates unconditional love in all of your relationships . . . up to, and including the homeless man pictured above?
Saint Paul, in 1st. Corinthians 13:4-8 describes unconditional love this way:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
Dissecting this all-encompassing definition of unconditional love revealed eye-popping traits that eliminated this writer from the top rankings of unconditional lovers: Read on, and see how you fit with the definition.
Unconditional Love is Patient
My patience scale reads a 2 of a possible 10.
I know of only 2 people that possess less patience and they are close relatives. The "no patience gene" runs rampant in my family and I inherited a healthy supply.
On the other hand, my wife was born with the patience of the biblical character, Job. Nothing, and I stress, NOTHING seems to test her patience. I find her ability to stay cool to be nothing short of amazing.
The lone fact that she is patient with the likes of a hothead like yours truly, speaks volumes when traits of unconditional love are measured.
Perfect Love is Kind
I am not always kind.
Before that first cup of joe every morning, I am hateful, mean and ill-tempered for about 20 minutes.
However, my overall kindness report card would show an A- . . . a good grade and one I can honestly say comes naturally. I enjoy being kind to people. A friendly, passing smile or a "how's it goin' " spoken to a stranger gives me great pleasure.
My radar is finely tuned to spot people in need. For the most part, I always help them in some small way. That help may be in the form of money, or a sincere question like, "are you OK?" If this person is open to a discussion, I take the time to really listen.
The 3rd. trait composing the unconditional love equation is the absence of envy.
Envy takes many different forms, and is closely aligned with negative emotions such as fear, lust, greed and jealousy.
You may agree that we've all experienced envy and one or more of its nasty cousins. Envy may be the most difficult human emotion to reign in and control, making it a lurking love destroyer.
The 24 hour news channels thrive on reporting instances of envy. The list is large:
- Hollywood divorces
- Money scams and ripoffs
- Murders of spouses springing from jealousy
- Out of control government spending, and fraud
These news stories rip holes in the notion that perfect, or unconditional love is even close to attainable . . . or, is it?
Boasting can best be defined as 'self-praise'.
The opposite of self-praise is 'others praise'. Unconditional lovers are always prepared to freely and sincerely shower others with compliments and kind words. They look for the good in people, and purposely ignore the negatives.
I wonder, could and/or would you look for the good traits resident within the street person pictured at this hub's beginning?
Solid marriages base happiness on this activity, as do long-lasting friendships. The focus is always on the other person's well-being.
Many times, I hear married couples spew cutting, biting remarks directed at one another. This activity, even if meant to be taken in a joking spirit, causes irrepairable harm to the relationship. 'Others praise' seeks to ALWAYS boast of the good to be found in the other person.
Unconditional love cannot exist when pride is present.
A proud person is incapable of forgiveness, and the old adage, "pride comes before the fall," wraps tightly around a failed or failing relatiionship.
Jesus Christ's entire purpose was to exhibit unconditional love throughout his ministry. Even in His final hour He provided the ultimate example of forgiveness. Through intense, physical agony while slowly dying on a cross, he whispers, "Father, FORGIVE them for they know not what they do."
I am convinced no human being could or would be inclined to forgive a group of people who first beat, then put one to death enduring such a cruel and tortuous end to earthly life.
On a personal level, I was involved in an unfortunate incident here on HubPages two nights ago that tested my ability to squelch my personal pride while mustering forgiveness toward a fellow hubber.
I commented on a hub this person penned, and received what I perceived to be a 'slap in the face' reply for the world to see.
With no thoughts of "sleeping on it" or forgetting his retort, I fired off a reactionary, unflatteriing and angry rebuttal. The next day, after re-reading my hateful words, I felt an immediate deep, personal reaction filled with true and sincere regret.
I then wrote another comment . . . this time, using sincere words of apology and submitted it for publication. He approved this reconciliation attempt, because the new comment was posted under his hub.
Although I have no control over his reaction, I sincerely hope he finds a way to forgive my lack of temporary, uncontrollable anger.
This true story illustrates the damage that self-pride causes within ANY relationship.
Answering the Question
Does unconditional love really exist?
In every relationship, perfect or unconditional love is possible and yes, it does exist--but never in a 24/7, 365 days/yr. time frame.
Nor can it survive the inevetible ups and downs everyday life throws our way.
Unconditional love also exists in varying forms and degrees. For example, I score highly in the 'kindness' areas, but fail miserably in the 'patience' scoring.
We humans can strive for perfect love, but we are imperfect people. These imperfections makes the possibility of a total and complete unconditionally-accepting relationship impossible, although at times, certain components that define a perfect love are manifested.
Unconditional love may be completely and totally unattainable, but it is possible to make our relationships stronger by working on a plan to "eliminate the negative; accentuate the positive", and possibly the best way to strengthen friendship bonds is to observe the Golden Rule:
"Do unto others as you would have them do to you!"
So, how did YOU score? Are you the consumate, unconditional lover; do you fall somewhere in the middle, or did you fail miserably?
The Unconditional Lover Poll
What is the depth of your ability to love others uncondtionally?
"If the other person injures you, you may forget the injury; but if you injure him you will always remember. "
... Khalil Gibran