I would be remiss in discussing this topic of unconditional love without referencing the greatest example of it in history, Jesus Christ.
In one of his most famous speeches, known as ‘The Sermon on the Mount,’ after teaching the fundamental attitudes of a love-filled, happy life…
…He capped off the speech with this powerful statement on unconditional love — recorded in the New Testament in Matthew 5:43-45:
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.”
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”
“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
That very well may be the single most difficult lesson to learn in life — how to love your enemies.
I’m not aware of any greater challenge than to love those who oppose us or treat us harshly.
But here’s what I have found…
…In every case when I have been in the habit of thoughts of unconditional love, it has been possible to return to loving ‘my enemies’ quickly, restoring peace to my heart.
By contrast, in those times when I had slipped out of the habit of unconditional love in my thoughts…
…Interactions with negative situations or people have been known to easily throw me way off track into a state of anger or spite.
Here’s an example of the positive side:
Just yesterday I shared of sitting in the tire shop, filled to overflowing with joy as loving thoughts poured out of my heart toward the people all around me.
As I left that place, I found myself easily remaining in the energy of love…expressing, “I love you” in my thought toward every person I interacted with.
Other people driving cars, merging with me, or passing me… “I love you.”
Stopping at the post office…looking in the eye of the clerk and thinking, “I love you,” as I said thank you for the package.
Saying, “I love you,” in my thoughts after saying, “Thank you,” out loud, to the kind people stepping off the trail for me to pass on my late morning run up the canyon.
With each thought of love, the feeling of joy, lightness, and peace in my heart either persisted or grew.
Later, back at my desk I checked in on my rental properties and discovered that two tenants had lied to me in writing for the third time in a row in one week!
Both had given three promises of when their rent would be deposited. All the dates had passed, and still no rent.
Perhaps it’s mild, but this is definitely an example of an ‘enemy,’…
…These people were acting in direct opposition to me, and in my perception, taking advantage of me and causing problems for my business and my family’s livelihood.
Despite how amazing I was feeling moments earlier…my initial tendency was a feeling of anger toward these two individuals.
I started writing an email and noticed rudeness in the words coming out.
Becoming aware that I was suddenly not feeling very good anymore, I stood up to go get a drink and collect my thoughts.
Then I remembered that I can choose to love these people just like everyone else I was loving today.
Unconditional love doesn’t love just those who are kind or peaceful toward me.
So I said, “I love you,” to both tenants. I pictured them in my mind and said:
“I forgive you for not paying rent like you said you would. I’m sorry for feeling anger toward you at first. Please forgive me. I love you. I hope you can find peace in whatever struggle you must be facing.”
Instantly my heart was plugged back into love.
I was only disconnected a few minutes — then right back to living in love and feeling peace in my heart despite the circumstances.
I then erased all the emotionally charged, negative things I had written in the email, and sent them messages with just the facts and what I needed, from a place of love.
Forgiveness and love didn’t let them off the hook for their behavior.
Forgiveness in this case did not require releasing them from their duty to pay. (Though sometimes forgiveness of debt is appropriate)
Forgiveness and compassion released me from resentment and freed me to move forward immediately in peace.
Other days, when I hadn’t been practicing the habit of thinking, “I love you,”…
…I had allowed this type of situation to unplug me from love for hours and hours at a time!
Left unchecked, avoiding forgiveness and unconditional love is how we can easily waste days, weeks, or even years of our lives disconnected from joy.
This habit we are focusing on is powerful!
Loving those who curse you, take advantage of you, or lie to you is one of life’s greatest challenges.
We can easily feel like a victim to our circumstances, because we can’t control other people, and “they make us so mad!”
But the reality is this: Nobody can make you be mad.
If you find yourself angry at other people’s actions, that situation is happening to teach you to love.
You can learn to love all things, and when you do, you are living a Truly Amazing Life.
I hope you are experiencing the beauty, peace, and joy that is yours for the taking every single day by simply saying, “I love you,” to everyone and everything you encounter.
I’d love to hear about your experiences, don’t be shy about emailing me and sharing!
Keep it up!
Make today amazing!