I believe in building relationships in unconditional love.
Whenever I think about unconditional love and the magnitude of its power, I think about how my relationship with my friend Chris has been transformed. Chris and I met for the first time in ninth grade. Within just the first few weeks of high school I found myself pretty much hating him. The reason I couldn’t stand him was because he was pretty arrogant, and I felt like his ego was about to pop my own arrogant bubble.
But one night during my first semester of high school, one of my friends invited me to a Bible study, and the speaker talked about having love for your enemies. When I first heard the concept it didn’t make any sense to me, but since I knew that I was going to be in class with Chris for the long term I figured that I would at least try it out for a week or so. I quickly discovered that trying to love someone that you hate is virtually impossible. The only way I was able to pursue was through prayer and focusing on trying to love others with the same unconditional love that has been revealed to me through my relationship with Christ.
The reason Christ loves unconditionally is because it is the way in which relationships were intended to be experienced. Deciding to build a relationship on unconditional love is like deciding to build a house on rock as opposed to building the foundation on sand. Because when the storms of life come upon the relationship, it is able to weather the storms and not be destroyed. However, in any relationship without unconditional love at its core, whenever the storms of betrayal and gossip attack the relationship, the relationship is destroyed and washed away. The reason these relationships persevere is because the relationship is rooted in continual humility and forgiveness. Furthermore, since no sin or wrongdoing can destroy the love in the relationship, neither person feels pressured to do anything to earn or regain the other’s respect. Therefore, open and honest relationships can be fostered. Through this openness that I discovered through unconditionally loving Chris, a new hope was found for our relationship.
Through years of pursuing forgiveness, in my relationship with Chris I was eventually able to accept him and love him simply for who he is. Since I was no longer merely thinking self-centeredly in our relationship I was able to see the good in him, and by seeing him in a new positive light our relationship. Through this new perspective I no longer dreaded nor hated him, and in fact before long I began to enjoy his company as a friend. Now four years later although we have now gone our separate ways in college (he off to the Ivy League, and I to James Madison), we still maintain an intimate friendship that was only possible through unconditional love.