“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.”
Recently, I heard a business leader say, “We love our sales employees conditionally. As long as they’re selling and doing what we expect, we love them.” He was very clear. “We love them as long as they perform.”
I appreciated his words because they were incredibly honest and reflective of a prevalent mindset regarding the world’s concept of love. We live in a performance-based society.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I watched a lot of college football. Not surprisingly, there are coaches on the hot-seat as the season winds down. Some of them were once dearly loved by the fans. But now, the love is gone. Why? They didn’t perform at an acceptable standard.
The junior quarterback on my favorite college team started the season in grand fashion performing better than anyone expected. In fact, after a few games his name was offered as a possible Heisman Trophy candidate. Then his performance began to slide, and talk turned to speculation on who might take his place next year.
In reality, performance based love is reasonable as it applies to business, sports, and entertainment. Where it becomes a problem is when it enters into the realm of human relationships.
Conditional love hinders godly love. It’s love with an “if.” If you perform according to my expectations, I will love you.
Conditional love prohibits loving those who are different by social class, race, geographic location, etc. It is easier to love people like us. Jesus also had something to say about that. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” (Luke 6:32)
In fact, we enter every relationship with a handicap called “sin.” Add in a few personality quirks, and all of us are capable of undesirable and unlovable behavior. Even in the best of relationships, we will disappoint our spouses, family, and friends. And because conditional love is more prevalent than unconditional love, relationships are damaged and some fall apart.
Here’s the good news. God is good. His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1) His love is unconditional.
You will often disappoint Him. But He never stops loving you and always wants the best for you. His love endures; puts up with, hangs in there, never stops, and is without end. He’s okay with you starting over — again and again.
People on this earth may give up on you; discard you for something or somebody they perceive as better than you. However, God will always be on your side, and He will be there for you, and with you through every challenge you face.
Since you are a child of the Most High God, He wants to love others through you. That means you will have to look to Him for the faith and courage to love unconditionally.
Unlovable people abound. Yet, just like you, they need the Lord. You may be their only opportunity to experience the love of God. Love them with godly love, even if they don’t live up to your performance expectations.
If the Lord can look beyond our faults to meet our needs, then we should extend that grace to others. Yes, there is someone who will put up with you, for now, and forever. Thank God for His unconditional love.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Why You Need an Undivided Heart for God
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.