It's pretty sad when I read more about unconditional love from an author who makes no faith claims whatsoever than I do in books by authors whose sole purpose is to tell their readers about God's unconditional love. Or maybe it's not. Maybe I needed to read it some place else in order for it to really cut me deep.
So I was laying bed last night–rather, this morning between the hours of 2:30 AM and 4:30 AM–utterly unable to sleep. I kept tossing and turning, flipping and flopping, changing positions, sighing and groaning, praying and gasping–I just could not figure out what was going on and why mind would not just shut down for a few minutes so I could catch the sleep so fleetingly eluding me. It was that book the Myth of the Spoiled Child and the word 'unconditional' that kept stretching my eyes, pounding my heart, and infuriating my mind. It wouldn't leave me alone.
I do not lay claim to having many, if any, of those particularly queer moments when God speaks directly to us with words, dreams, or pictures, but I think last night that's exactly what happened. Here are a few of the sentences that kept dragging me down:
Children don't just need to be loved; they need to know that nothing they do will change the fact that they're loved. They require reassurance that their 'lovability' isn't in question, which is another way of talking about self-esteem. By contrast, on conservative critic of self-esteem not only complains about 'unearned praise' for children but expresses distaste for how 'today's parents' are like to express 'enthusiasm for their children's very existence.' (Kohn, 136)
Unconditional love corresponds to one of the deepest longings, not only of the child, but of every human being; on the other hand, to be loved because of one's merit, because one deserves it, always leaves doubt; maybe I did not please the person I want to love me, maybe this, or that–there is always a fear that love could disappear. Furthermore, 'deserved' love easily leaves a bitter feeling that one is not loved for oneself, that one is loved only because one pleases, that one is, in the last analysis, not love at all but used. (Erich Fromm, as quoted by Kohn, p 136-137.)
This is why I was awake all night, but not just this. This of itself merely tickles me. It doesn't leave me so speechless as when I read this and remember what the Bible says about the way God loves us.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
…nothing…in all creation will be able to separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39)
Here's what kept me awake: I suddenly realized that God does, in fact, love me unconditionally. I had an epiphany of His love: I did nothing to earn it and can do nothing to lose it.