"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." John 13:34
What does it mean to have unconditional love and acceptance for others? The world seems to do a good job. The song "Born This Way", a statement of unconditional acceptance by Lady Gaga rose to the top of the Billboard Music Chart's #1 spot for several weeks. But as Christians, even though we are called to love others, we seem to have failed miserably. This is evident in the world's view of us as hypocritical and judgmental, nothing more than a political action group trying to push our agenda.
But Jesus is no respecter of persons, and He is no respecter of sins. He modeled unconditional love in the story of the woman who had committed adultery and was brought to Jesus in the temple courts. The Pharisees said, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" Jesus had been kneeling on the ground writing in the sand. He said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." He then said to her, "I do not condemn you, go and leave your life of sin." (John 8:1-11)
We need to love others, and also realize that their behavior is likely caused by a root of something else that happened long ago. Issues like addiction or habitual anger have to do with lack of love in a person's life or traumatic experiences that happened at a very young age. If we are really going to authentically model who Jesus is to people, we need to show the type of love that Jesus modeled. That may include dealing with our own issues so we don't appear to be hypocrites along the way.
Jesus loves us before we change. Jesus loves us if we never change. He invites us to experience the fullness of His love by giving up our sinful desires, but His love remains the same. Is there someone you could love unconditionally today?
"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." -John 13:35
Related resource: Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God's Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You, by John Burke