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Does Unconditional Love Exist 

"And What Does It Look Like" 

By:Tim Taylor 

When trying to define love, the ever popular example is expressed as the care that a mother has for her child. Most people call that unconditional love. The mother, without thought, would give her life so that her child could have a chance at life. Since life is the most precious gift we humans have, we see anyone willing to unselfishly set aside theirs, whether literally or metaphorically, to help someone continue their gift of life as the greatest act of love. Since most under-aged young children are incapable of returning the same self less act of protecting the life and wellfare of an adult, one tends to label a mother's act toward her child as unconditional love. 

Some see the sacrifices made by great men and women that paid the ultimate price in defense of a belief that certain rights and privileges should be extended to all people as an act of unconditional love. Still, in the religious realm, others insist that unconditional love was demonstrated by Jesus when he died on the cross that all mankind might be saved. While those examples warrant gratitude, appreciation, praise, adoration, worship, humility and the likes, do they do justice in portraying unconditional love? While I make no attempt to approve or disprove unconditional love; I do submit to you that none of those examples show unconditional love.

Before you label me a heretic or quack, consider my reasons for not accepting the above acts as proof of unconditional love. According to Webster's Dictionary, the word condition means: 3a: a restricting or modifying factor, qualification. In plain English, it means terms must be met in order to qualify for something. Unconditional means the opposite: not conditional or limited: absolute, unqualified. So, unconditional love is limitless, boundless, and has no conditions to it. Love like that is definitely something to desire and aspire to give. However, if you dissect the above examples, you'll easily see that neither of them fulfill the definition of what is considered as unconditional love.

For starters, let's examine a mother's love for her child. She would go cold hungry, naked and some have done unspeakable things to and with their bodies in order for their child to get the necessities of life. No one would judge her for her unselfish acts to preserve life. As noble as this is and an exemplary execution of selflessness, it is a poor example of unconditional love. The reason being is the obvious qualifier for her actions. Because of the inherent nature of mothers, their actions toward their child to protect and nurture them, no matter how extreme they are, her actions are seen as normal responses any decent mother would have toward her child. But the condition present that beckons her to act as she does is the fact that the child is hers. Not someone else.

Along the same lines is any adult willing to jump in front of a moving vehicle and throw a child to safety as they are hit by the vehicle. While it shows an unselfish act, the qualifier is it being a child not having had a chance to live life that makes the adult act as they did. Unselfish, yes, unconditional...No. The same goes for the highly respectable souls who gave their own lives in the fight for others to live a life of respect and equality. Once again, we see an act of unselfishness, but the condition upon which the act is carried out is a fellow human being. There's absolutely nothing wrong with admiring unselfish acts of love, and they should be noted, but care must be taken when prescribing certain things where they should not. It leaves the door open for being taken advantage of and depriving your self of experiencing or giving true love.

Lastly, is the divine act that Jesus did in the Judeo Christian faith. Whether you're a person or faith or not, it's hard to argue about the virtues present in someone who would suffer and die as Jesus did is evidence of love, but was this amazing act a showing of unconditional love? Most everyone who knows of the Christian faith are aware of John 3:16. Even if you're not aware of the Christian faith, at some point you've seen a fan in a sports stadium with the verse emblazoned on a poster. It goes as such: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. That whosoever believes on him would not perish, but have ever lasting life. Sound familiar?

Heaven and ever lasting life are goals to strive for; alas, this act, while is a flawless example of unselfish love, shows love itself as clearly being the condition for sending his only begotten Son. God sent and the Son went and died because of the condition of love they had for the world. So based on the above acts, it proves that the love we experience is predicated by conditions. So, too, is hate, anger, fear, happiness, sadness and any other response we humans display. They all find their existence in conditions. That doesn't make them any less wonderfully expressive. It just means we humans are highly social creatures and beg to be interactive and engaging with each other. Feel free to comment on this.