Is There such a Thing as unconditional Love?

Unconditional love is defined on the on-line dictionary as affection with no limits or conditions; complete love. I was unable to find the term "unconditional love" in the Bible, so I turned to John, the apostle of love, to see what is said about God's love and our love.

 John tells us in 1 John 3:16, "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." John next states in 1 John 3:17-18, "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." These verses equate words with action. Jesus stated in John 14:31, "But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do..." Through these verses, we know that God does not want us to love in word but in deed and in truth. God requires action in our love. God shows us His love as revealed in 1 John 4:9, "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." John then tells us in 2 John 6, "And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it."

 However, God's love for us does not mean He overlooks our sins. We are warned in Hebrews 3:12, "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." We must be watchful and stand fast in the faith and be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13).

 Biblical love does not mean standing by and letting loved ones and others engage in a sinful activity and think that we approve. If we are doing this, then we are being deceitful, not showing our love for those individuals. When Christians engage in activities that are counter to what is taught in the Bible, I cannot help but think of Psalm 1:1-2, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night."

 For your consideration, I would like to conclude with the story of Eli and his sons as found in 1 Samuel 2:22-4:18. Eli's sons were priests and they were lying with women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle. Eli heard of their activity and took his sons to task for it but did not stop them (1 Samuel 2:22-25). Then a man of God came to Eli and told him that as a result of his sons behavior and Eli not putting a stop to it that his sons would die on the same day and God would raise up a faithful priest. God told Eli in 1 Samuel 2:29 that because Eli did not stop the activity when it was in his power to do so, Eli had honored his sons above God. We may not have it in our power to keep our loved ones around us from sinning, but we should be careful about our appearing to approve of their actions and supporting them in sinful activity. However, our not supporting them in sin does not mean we do not love them. In this sense, unconditional love does not mean there is no consequence to actions.

 Charles Royal, Decatur, AL