Conditional Love

I've been reading Blue Like Jazz lately. I loathe that book. It convicts me everytime I read it. Sometimes it convicts me more than the Bible. It certainly convicts me more than going to church.

In almost every chapter something sticks out to me that I need to work on. Tonight it was the idea of conditional love. I realized that I give love out based on only selfish reasons. If you talk to me and give me your time, I'll love you. If I have something to gain from having a friendship with you, I'll love you. If you are a good person, I'll love you. However, if none of these three conditions is true than I'll be nice to you. I'll placate you. But forget getting "true love" from me.

While this sounds awful and shallow, there is even something worse than that. I view God's love as conditional. If I'm a nice person who goes to church and helps out, God will love me. If I sin and mess up, God will hate me. Or at least that's what I think. Which explains why I don't feel like God loves me too often. Because I'm not that good of a person. I don't deserve His love.

And I don't. Yet He loves me anyway. So I must start to love others whether they have "earned" my love or not. If someone hurts me I need to love them anyway. If I'm disappointed I need to love them as well. If I seemingly have nothing to gain from someone, I will love them as well. To do that I'm going to have to learn true love. Perhaps removing the conditions on love is a good place to start.


Alisha said...

Blake, I'm glad to see you're back blogging again. Blue Like Jazz is one of those books that convicts me, too. I've read it a couple of times, and each time I pick up something new that seems to be directed right at me and something I've been thinking about or struggling with. Our stuff from the U.S. just arrived yesterday -- maybe it's a good time to find that book for another read.

Eddie said...

I am not sure I follow what you mean, nor am I sure I agree with you 100%.
No one can look from the outside in and know if someone is 'loving' them or 'liking' them or just trying to get on their good side, each person knows their own motivations at all times. But I also don't think you should be too hard on yourself.
If being married as long as I have been married has taught me anything, it's that sometimes loving is action without feeling. It's doing what you know you should do even when you don't want to do it.
When we are told to love our neighbor as ourselves, we don't actually think that means to sit around inside our house and think nice thoughts about them while they are outside having a stroke shoveling snow off the drive. I think that means acting, and I don't think it has much at all to do with feeling.
Maybe this is all off the mark, but I think sometimes we get too hung up with love as an emotion rather than love as an action.

Sorry if this is too long, I should write in my own blog right? :)