Is God's Love Unconditional
by Albert Emanuel
Unconditional love appears to be the perfect form of love. And combined with unconditional acceptance and forgiveness, it seems faultless and beyond reproach. Why would anyone criticize this form of love. Why would anyone object to this seemingly perfect love. Don't we all want unconditional love? Don't we all desire to be accepted unconditionally? And don't we all seek unconditional forgiveness? Most people would reply in the affirmative. But we need to be aware of the fact that there are hidden dangers in the concept of unconditional love. What appears to be the perfect form of love is actually dangerous and destructive.
Prominent ministers like James Dobson and Charles Stanley have introduced unconditional love into
contemporary Christianity. They are attempting to change God's love into unconditional love. Surely a learned psychologist like Dobson should be aware of the dangers of unconditional love, but apparently not. And Charles Stanley, who is an advocate of the false "once saved, always saved" doctrine, believes in unconditional love because it guarantees that God will love him no matter how evil he is. Stanley's teachings are shocking to the Christian mind. He states that a Christian can leave the faith and reject Christ and still be saved.
The concept of unconditional love is deeply flawed and can be a serious impediment to true love. Here is a list of objections to unconditional love.
1. The bible says that God is love, but it does not say that God is unconditional love. Attaching this powerful adjective to the word "love" cannot be justified by scripture.
2. God does not love unconditionally. He demands obedience and submission and expects total surrender to his will. A God who loves unconditionally would not impose these conditions.
3. God does not accept you as you are. He expects changes in your behavior and improvement in your
character. You are to put your "old self" to death and become a "new man" in Christ. If God accepted you
unconditionally, there would be no need for repentance and conversion.
4. The law of Moses contains 613 commands and is filled with curses for disobedience. What further proof do we need that God's love is conditional. The bible says that "the soul that sins shall die". Can you think of a statement more conditional than that. And the fact that each person will be judged by their works demonstrates that God's love is conditional. A God who loves unconditionally would not even judge humans let alone make works a factor in salvation.
5. The concept of unconditional love is self-refuting because the condition for this form of love is that it be unconditional. Therefore, it is impossible to love and be loved unconditionally because even unconditional love has conditions.
6. The conditions of unconditional love are obvious. It must last forever, it cannot change a person, and it
cannot ask for anything in return.
7. Unconditional love opens the door to abuse because you are required to love a person no matter how much or how often they hurt you. And retaliation is out of the question because it would make love conditional. Some are willing to tolerate abuse because they supposedly love the abuser unconditionally. But this only creates a dysfunctional relationship.
8. Unconditional forgiveness can have negative consequences. Endless forgiveness for the same offences rewards the offender and guarantees that the bad behavior will continue indefinitely. Forgiveness is often used as a license to commit the same offence over and over. Many women have forgiven their husbands for cheating only to find the adulterous behavior repeated. Thus, unconditional forgiveness, which is a part of unconditional love, can open the door to victimization. An unending cycle of forgiveness means an unending cycle of abuse. Unconditional and endless forgiveness rewards mistreatment and reinforces abuse.
9. Unconditional love creates false ideas about forgiveness. Even God does not always forgive. We are told that sins against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. And God refuses to forgive an unrepentant sinner. It isn't necessary to forgive a person who is not sorry for their sins and refuses to repent. God imposes conditions for forgiveness.
10. Jesus told us to love our enemies but not unconditionally and not forever. We bless those who hate and persecute us and pray for their souls. But if they refuse to repent, they will perish. God does not love evil doers unconditionally. Those who remain unrepentant and continually practice evil will be put to death.
11. Jesus temporarily allowed himself to be mistreated and killed in order to become the savior of the world. But in his current position at the right hand of God, he would never permit anyone to even attempt to abuse him. Temporary abuse is bad enough, but permanent abuse is out of the question. Unconditional love opens the self to attack without any provision for protection. It leaves the self vulnerable to permanent abuse.
12. Unconditional love eliminates healthy boundaries that are necessary for relationships to survive. Respect for the essential dignity of others requires that proper boundaries be kept. We should not violate another person's space or cross their boundaries without permission. Boundaries can be opened and closed depending upon how one is treated. Having no boundaries and being completely open is a recipe for abuse.
13. Unconditional love would make eternal life intolerable because you would be forced to accept evil beings as they are. It would turn heaven into an absolute hell.
14, Unconditional love would force God to accept Satan as he is. The devil wants unconditional love, but God cannot love evil. His holiness forbids that.
15. Unconditional love is fantasy, fiction, and illusion. It only exists in the imagination. It is an abstraction and fabrication.
I have often wondered why people who believe in unconditional love take marriage vows and accept the "bonds of matrimony". It seems like an obvious contradiction. Promises are conditions of love. And why do parents who believe in unconditional love discipline their children. Discipline makes love conditional. Those who claim to practice unconditional love are deluding themselves. Even they place a least some conditions on love.
Unconditional love tolerates evil indefinitely, forces a person to forgive an unrepentant sinner, breaks down healthy boundaries, and make a person a permanent target for abuse. The concept of unconditional love, acceptance, and forgiveness reduces love to an absurdity. To embrace a form of love that requires no conditions, boundaries, or restraints is a recipe for disaster. Unconditional love is an inferior form of love that is dangerous and destructive and should not be practiced.
True love is conditional. It respects the integrity of the self and the integrity of others. It is a giving and receiving form of love that satisfies the need to love and be loved. It creates healthy boundaries that protect the self from abuse. And it refuses to tolerate evil indefinitely. God's conditional love maintains his justice and holiness. It is the only real love that exists.
Copyright (C) 2007 Albert Emanuel