2. WHEN YOU CONDITION LOVE YOU SHORTEN ITS LIFESPAN.  When you condition love and make it dependent on how other people behave, people will, sooner or later, mess up because people aren’t perfect. And when they mess up, there goes the end of your love. Herein lies another problem with conditional love. It doesn’t last very long. It ends the moment you’re hurt or disappointed. It’s lost the moment a person fails to live up to your standards, expectations, or demands.

Agápe love, in contrast, lasts a lifetime. 1 Corinthians 13:8a reads, Charity never faileth. True love, that is agápe Christian love, never fails. It never quits loving. Which is  to say, brethren,  IF  YOU  QUIT  LOVING SOMEONE THEN YOU NEVER REALLY LOVED THEM—not in the Biblical sense of the term. You may have loved them with the love that humans have for one another. But you never loved them the way God told you to love them: you never agápe loved them.

Brethren, when you agápe love someone you’ll never quit loving them. That’s how you can tell what kind of love you have—by how long it lasts. Agápe love lasts a lifetime. Through all the griefs and disappointments you face as the result of people’s failures, agápe keeps on loving. It never quits loving.

How is that possible? Because agápe love isn’t conditional. It keeps on loving in spite of people’s imperfections and sins because that is its nature. Brethren, IT’S POSSIBLE TO KEEP ON LOVING PEOPLE EVEN WHEN THEY’VE SINNED OR FALLEN SHORT. THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU CONDONE THEIR SINS OR IMPERFECTIONS. BUT TRUE LOVE WAS NEVER CONDITIONED OR DEPENDENT ON PEOPLE’S FLAWLESSNESS OR PERFECTION. True love keeps on loving because it was meant to do that. It was meant to last a lifetime. It was meant never to fail or end.

Brethren, WE’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO QUIT LOVING ONE ANOTHER. IT’S WRONG, AND WE’RE WRONG, TO QUIT LOVING THE BRETHREN. Yet some of us do it all the time. We quit loving because

  • they left the church.
  • they quit believing what we believe.
  • they’re hanging out with people we don’t like.
  • they weren’t nice to me.
  • they hurt my feelings.
  • they said some pretty bad things about me.
  • the preacher stepped on my toes.
  • ad infinitum.

These are reasons enough for us to quit loving one another? Brethren, THERE’S NO VERSE IN ALL OF SCRIPTURE WHERE GOD TELLS US IT’S ALRIGHT TO QUIT LOVING SOMEONE. You won’t find a single verse! I can tell you where God says don’t pray for someone, don’t hang around with someone, don’t eat with someone, don’t listen to someone, don’t bring or welcome someone into your home, don’t bid someone godspeed. But don’t love someone? Brethren, we’re supposed to love even our enemies! How much more the brethren! Despite what they’ve done. True love lasts a lifetime. It lasts forever.

3. CONDITIONAL LOVE LEADS TO A BREAKDOWN IN RELATIONSHIPS.  When you make your love for people conditional or dependent on their actions, your love for them will eventually end, and with it, your friendship or relationship with them. Why is that? Because no one’s perfect. Imperfect people will eventually mess up. And when they do, friendships that are built or based on conditional love will crumble and end. This is something that we’ve seen proven time after time after time. The high rate of divorce and familial alienation tell the story in an endless litany of tragic refrain. Relationships are temporary, they aren’t lasting, when they’re built or based on conditional love. 

IF WE’RE TIRED OF LOSING FRIENDS AND ALIENATING OTHER CHRISTIANS WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO STOP LOVING THEM CONDITIONALLY AND START LOVING THEM UNCONDITIONALLY IN SPITE OF ALL THE THINGS THAT ARE WRONG OR DISAGREEABLE ABOUT THEM. Brethren, if we want the fighting and divisions to stop, we’ve got to learn to keep on loving one another in spite of our differences. We need to find a way to keep the unity and peace.

The longer I live, the more I’m convinced that THERE ISN’T A PROBLEM THAT LOVE, PRAYER, FAITH, AND THE LORD CANNOT FIX. THE SAME GOD THAT KEEPS ALL OF CREATION TOGETHER WITHOUT IT FALLING APART SURELY HAS THE POWER  AND  KNOW-HOW TO KEEP OUR RELATIONSHIPS TOGETHER. And He’s showing us how He’s going to do it. He’s telling us what it’s going to take to keep our friendships intact. It’s called loving one another unconditionally.

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 3. Another couple of things wrong with conditional love. It’ll be a sobering look at the devastating effect conditional love has on you if you love conditionally. It may well be the death knell that sets you free. So don’t miss out!

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