Love Unconditionally

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Today’s Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 3

A few weeks ago, I overheard a conversation between two people in a setting outside of church. Based on the conversation, it was clear that they both considered themselves Christ-followers. One told the other that she had a family member who was living in conditions that she thought would not be approved of by God. Because this family member lived this way out of their own free will, she said she could not wish them the best for their future despite loving them.

This conversation really stuck with me, and I have thought of it many times since. I cannot understand how someone could declare that they love someone, yet are not willing to wish them the best for their future—even if they did not agree with all their choices.

In this week’s chapter, Paul is writing a letter to let the Thessalonians to let them know how happy he is that Timothy reported back to him about their continued faith. But he also talks about how they ought to love.

1 Thessalonians 3:12 (NIV)
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else.

While Paul had given the Thessalonians instructions on how to change their lives to glorify God and live as God had instructed, he did also say that they should not only love each other but everyone. Presumably, he was referring to people outside the Christian community, which would have been people who did not know and follow Jesus. In other words, our love should be unconditional.

If I am not wishing a loved one “well for their future,” I am effectively withholding something that should come naturally.  My love and hopes should not be dependent on whether or not I approve of the choices they make. If I love someone, my intentions should always be the best for them, and that includes desiring they live a happy and fulfilled life. If I do not wish them the best for their future, then I am only a very short step away from saying that I hope deep down that God punishes them for their life choices. Choices which I do not approve because I claim to know that God would not approve of them either.

So, for me, I choose to encourage others to live a life that is full of love and kindness. If they do not follow the path that I envisage best for them, it is not my place to judge them. I will nevertheless still pray that they have a wonderful future ahead of them.

Is there anyone in your life whom you are secretly or not so secretly judging because of the choices they make in their life? Do you still wish the best for their future? If not, why? Could you bring yourself to let them know that your love for them is unconditional?

Next Steps:
Make a list of three things you could do to show your unconditional love for someone whose life choices you do not approve of. Then go ahead and do them. Report back to a fellow Christ-follower what happened.

Dear Father, thank you so much for showing us unconditional love and endless patience. Please let me realize that it is not my place to judge anyone’s choices but instead to show them the same love, grace, and mercy you have shown all of us. I do not know what I would do without your love and those whom I love in my life. Amen.

This post was written by Cordula Mora. Cordula is a neuroscientist who currently works in the Provost office at Bowling Green State University. She was born and raised in Germany, then spent many years living in New Zealand before settling in the US almost 16 years ago. She was raised in a German Protestant church but feels blessed to have been spiritually awakened when she was introduced to CedarCreek Church. She thanks God every day for all the blessings in her life, including two amazing daughters. She is currently looking for someone who would like to serve the Lord with her.

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4 replies
  1. Julie
    Julie says:

    Cordula, you are spot on with this idea! It’s not always easy to want God’s best for people who aren’t what we think they should be, but it isn’t our place to judge. I think God returns to us the blessing we wish for others. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Megyn E Pike
    Megyn E Pike says:

    Thank you. This is hitting very close to home this week. I have family that lives a different life style then I. I will continue to love them and pray for them. Amazing message.

  3. sunni
    sunni says:

    I love this study! Thank you! I struggle loving those who persecute me, judge me, and talk about me to others and then act like they have done nothing. Especially when they dont ask me how I am doing and what is going on if I am acting out from the hurt and knowing they have made a comment or judgement and shared with someone else. This happens in the church more than anywhere! I struggle loving those who only love me when I am acting and being what they think I should be and if Im struggling I would have to hide it or I am called a drama starter, insecure, paranoid and other words that have been spoken to others. I do FORGIVE because I walk in forgiveness. Its the loving part that gets hard. Its also because of anxiety and fear of another confrontation so I just stay away. I am asking God to help me in this area. I am getting better and stronger to JUST LOVE no matter what! Thank you for this study

  4. Deborah Ferrel-Joseph
    Deborah Ferrel-Joseph says:

    The other day, I was at the BMV renewing my sticker for my Kia Soul. A man, who I’d been chatting with, turned to me and said, “May I give you a little card and will you read it.”
    I said, “That all depends.”
    He said that he was a born again Christian. I smiled at him and I told him, “Praise Jesus”.
    I went on to tell him about Cedar Creek Church, and he knew it well. I told him that I had been saved (born again) many years ago. It was a high point in my day, considering that I was there for over 2 hours. Praise the Lord.

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