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Unconditional Love: Is It Worth It?

After reading my devotional this morning, I had this thought pop into my head. "Is unconditional love really worth it?" I've been sold on the idea of unconditional love from a spouse. When you find "the one" you should always be able to count on him or her to love you without having to constantly prove to him or her that you deserve that love. I've also been taught that God's love is unconditional and that He always loves us even when we sin. But does knowing that you will always be loved set the bar too low and lead you down the path of putting in less and less effort?

This is a bit of a non sequitur, but it'll make sense why I bring this up.

In college, I wrote and starred in a parody of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. It was a really fun project where the school hired a professional film crew to come in to do hair and makeup, lighting and filming of our projects. My project was a spoof of an episode of The Joy of Painting where Bob Ross gets overwhelmed by his past and breaks down in tears. I got the idea by watching some episodes of his show and noticed some of the things he said while painting his happy little trees.

This is the one that really stuck out:

“Gotta have opposites dark and light, light and dark in a painting. It’s like in life. Gots have a little sadness once in a while so you know when the good times come. I’m waiting on the good times now.” - Bob Ross

Which is what leads me to my question, "Is unconditional love worth it?"

If you never fail, or at least are never told that you have failed, eventually I think you'll just stop trying altogether. There's no negative reinforcement to push you to want to do better. There is nothing to inspire you to be better or try harder. We tend to be wired to look for the easiest path through life, so if we're always told we're good enough, then there's no need to make life any harder. Taking that idea and comparing it to unconditional love I think it's safe to assume that there are some people who would take advantage of that and choose to put in the least amount of effort for the reward of love. In this scenario love is earned and the bar is set so low that there's nothing you can do to stop getting love. In this scenario, I don't think unconditional love is worth it.

However, there's another way to look at it. I remember one time I had a job that paid me more than I was expecting to receive for my work. I wasn't told I had to prove myself in order to get a raise. I wasn't told that if I started to slack off I would earn less money. I was just told what my income would be and it was left at that. That feeling of being valued made me work harder at my job. It made me want to make my boss proud of me and not regret his decision to pay me what he thought I was worth. If you show someone unconditional love, maybe that's how they feel and work to be a better version of themselves in order to feel like they deserve your love.

Like so many questions out there, the answer seems to come from your perspective. If we receive unconditional love from God, and accept His forgiveness, are we going to be the type of people who take advantage of that and enjoy doing the least amount of work to get by? Or are we going to be the type of people who strive to be worthy of the immense gift because we understand what it means and how awesome it is?

Think about how much others love you and what you do to show them you appreciate their love. Think about how much God loves you and start working on being a better version of yourself so you can fully appreciate what unconditional love truly is.



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