THE WORD: Unconditional love, the heart of Jesus 

“King David in Prayer” by Peter de Grebber (circa 1635) is painting in the collection of the Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht, the Netherlands. (Public Domain) 

If you are a pet lover, you have experienced a kind of love that is superior to most humans, an unconditional type of love. Being a proud grandparent of a German Shorthaired Pointer has taught me about this type of love. His love does not depend on my behavior. He just loves me. He loves me whether I have behaved like Christ or more like the devil. This reminds me of the unconditional love of Christ, the ultimate sacrifice. 

Jesus had a different idea than most people. His teaching compelled others to love their enemies, turn the other cheek, bless those who curse them, and even for as much as it is possible, live in peace with one another. Living in this world doesn’t often reflect this kind of love. Jesus loved the guards, the Roman soldiers, who mocked and crucified him. In fact, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). He even said to the criminal hanging on the cross beside him, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise,” (Luke 23:43). 

There is a familiar verse in the Bible, John 3:16, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” For Christ to die for me, for you, that is unconditional love. 


Dear Heavenly Father, 

Thank you for your death on the cross to show us what true unconditional love looks like. Help us to love our neighbor, faults, and all. May we pray and ask you to reveal where we need help most. May we love unconditionally as you do so that we can look more like you each day.