“Conditional Love”

As many of you know, my wife, Mollie, is 5’8” and weighs 138 lbs. She was beautiful when I married her forty-two years ago and she’s still as beautiful today. For years, I’ve had a little saying that I can jokingly use because she looks as good as she does. I tell her, Mollie, I’d love you even if you were big, fat, and ugly, but not near as much.

Well, guess what God did one morning after I said it again? Yea, He gave me a check-up from the neck-up. The Lord challenged me about that statement and asked me if I really meant it. However, before I could answer, I heard Him say, “If what you said is true, then your love is conditional.” Is your love based solely on how your wife looks? Is your love based on her weight, her hair color or whether there are any lines around her eyes? If it is, then your love is conditional and I assure you that as appearances change, then so will the depth of your love.

I was crushed as I began to think—what if the Lord made such a statement to me. What if He said, Hal, I don’t love you as much as I used to because you’ve grown fat on the flimsiness of life and your face is showing wrinkles of weariness. Son, have you noticed there are little battle scars all over you—not like when you first fell in love with me. You don’t communicate with me as clearly as you once did and you’re not always honest with me. Let Me ask you a question Hal, is your love for Me conditional or is your love for Me unconditional? Do you love Me because of what I do for you, or do you love Me for who I am? I could only imagine what I would do if He said, “You’ve changed Hal, so I don’t love you near as much as I once did. Oh. I still love you even though you’re fat and ugly, but not near as much.”

I scrambled to set things right and struggled to regain my senses. I said, “My love for Mollie is not conditional; I love her with every fiber of my being. I’ve never loved anyone but her and I will always love her. She could never grow anything but more lovely each day. In my eyes, she will always be the beautiful 19-year-old girl that I married. My love for her is like the love You have for humanity. Your love is an unconditional, sacrificial, and never-ending love. Father, she knows that I didn’t really mean what I said and I know You are aware that it’s just a joke.”

I believe I heard Him speak these words to my heart, “Yes I know you didn’t mean it, but stop saying it and start telling her what I tell you, My love for you is unconditional.”

It has been five years now and I haven’t said it since!

  Pastor Hal Steenson