unconditional vs conditional love
dating,  healing,  love,  marriage

Conditional vs. Unconditional LOVE: What does it mean?

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Conditional love is traumatizing. It is the reason that so many people are dealing with emotional trauma, attachment issues, and fear of intimacy. Conditional love teaches people that they have to DO something, BE someone else, and PERFORM for someone’s love. It teaches us that we are not good enough as we are. It reminds us that if we mess up, our loved ones will stop being kind and loving towards us.

I’ve learned that love within a relationship or friendship is deeper and harder than most think. Perhaps I shouldn’t say “we,” maybe it’s just me. Nonetheless, this year I have gained a lot of insights into what love is and what it isn’t. I have come to realize that my expectations for love were entirely self-centered and egotistical. My expectations were conditional, and I was not loving unconditionally.

Love is Unwavering

The most interesting thing I’ve learned about love is that it is unwavering, patient, kind, persevering, vulnerable, and humble. These words are not just words; they are actions that can be difficult but always worth it.

I thought, I was literally one of the most humble, vulnerable, non-offendable, selfless and easy-going people I’ve ever met! Such prideful thoughts *sigh*, lol!  It wasn’t until I encountered people who hurt me that I realized I was capable of ugly emotions such as revenge and withdrawing love. I also realized that I was no different from people who struggle with humility, vulnerability, selfishness, control, and bitterness. It was difficult to admit, but I could destroy others if I wasn’t careful.

In those moments of pain, I wanted to rage at people that had hurt me.

In those moments of pain, I wanted to rage at people that had hurt me. But, that is what conditional love is. We treat them based on the conditions of their behavior rather than being loving no matter what!

Love Qualifies Us

Realizing the pride and other ugly areas of my heart made me feel like it would be impossible for someone to love me. However, in that moment of feeling unqualified to receive love, I came to understand the true nature of unconditional love.

Love is a gift that cannot be earned. It is given freely to someone, regardless of whether they deserve it or not. True love is about accepting someone for who they are, faults and all, and loving them despite their imperfections.

What is true unconditional love from the Bible?

Can you imagine being with someone who sees all your flaws? Someone who deals patiently with all of your fears and insecurities? Someone who patiently and kindly waits as you act difficult? Someone who understands you? Someone who listens to you? Someone who expects nothing from you but friendship? Someone who sees you as beautiful when you’re at your ugliest and lowest moment? Someone who chose you, knowing that you are imperfect? Related QUIZ: Do you know how to receive love?.

If you can identify someone who does all those things, then they carry true unconditional love from the Bible. True biblical love can be exemplified in various types of relationships such as friendships, parent-child relationships, work environments, and romantic relationships.

  • Carrying true biblical love means not disappearing at the sight of a person’s imperfections. Unconditional love is a choice, not just a feeling. It involves caring tenderly for another person the way you would care for yourself. Love is about seeking to protect someone’s heart and seeing the gold in them even when it’s hard. Sometimes, we may experience beautiful feelings in a relationship, but other times we must decide that the person we love is worth standing beside through thick and thin.

Love is a decision to give that person good and not repay them with evil – no revenge, pettiness, passive-aggressive remarks.

7 Characteristics of Unconditional Love According to the Bible

  1. Unconditional love is patient and forgiving.
  2. It does not seek revenge or hold grudges.
  3. Real love gives even when the other person doesn’t deserve it.
  4. It’s kind even when the other person is unkind.
  5. Love isn’t doesn’t keep a list of wrongs and keep accusing others.
  6.  Real love is a commitment to give another person the best version of ourselves at all times.
  7. However, it’s important to note that love also requires healthy boundaries, especially when dealing with abusive, manipulative, or unfaithful individuals.

Remember:Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (TPT) 

Related Article: Building Trust: 6 Steps To Encourage People To Let Your In

Real love is powerful.

Real love is the most powerful agent of change and healing. When someone receives real love, they feel safe in relationships. Being loved despite your imperfections makes a person blossom. Being loved for who you are rather than what you do empowers people to let their creativity or unique flavor out for people to see – to be themselves. We were all created to shine in different areas, and real love unlocks that potential. It removes the fear of not being good enough or making a mistake.

Moreover, receiving real love can eliminate feelings of loneliness, perfectionism, rejection, and isolation. Love reminds people that they have an ally who will fight to see them as a beautiful reflection of God and stick with them through life’s difficult moments, no matter what.

Prayer for Unconditional Love

Therefore, my prayer is that we would not desire a relationship with others just for the “good feels”. I pray that we would be fiercely in love with our friends, family, and spouses and stand by them through their darkest moments, with boundaries if needed.

Lord, I ask that you remove selfish ambitions from my heart, give me hope in hopeless circumstances, and instill in me a pure and unshakable love for others. I pray that I may be like Jesus and radiate his love, patience, mercy, kindness, wisdom, and righteousness. May my heart be open to hear your leadings and love others in a way that honors you. Help me to see beyond my emotions and discern the thoughts and emotions of others with the intention of loving them.

May I be a lover that makes people feel included, loved, and not rejected or abandoned. And Father, grant me the wisdom and strength to step away from people when it’s according to your will and timing. I desire to be a long-suffering individual who doesn’t give up on those whom you have called me to do life with.

I ask for all these things in Jesus’ name, amen.

Christina Daniels is the founder of Adorned Heart. She is devoted to learning about human behavior and its affects on society. She received a B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Public Policy. She hopes to use her life and academic experience to empower & heal the hearts of women!

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