Friday, October 22, 2010

Unconditional Love

“The test of friendship is assistance in adversity, and that too, unconditional assistance. Co-operation which needs consideration is a commercial contract and not friendship. Conditional co-operation is like adulterated cement which does not bind.”

-Mohandas Gandhi

What do you think about the above quote? Imagine your friend, who you love very much, is going through a painful time in their life and needs your help. What would you do?

Now imagine your friend has made a series of choices that, in your mind, at least, are exactly why he/she is in the pain, trouble or hardship they are now experiencing. Does that change what you would do?

Let's get more specific. What kind of hardship would your friend have to be going through for you to decide NOT to assist them? Here are a few possibilities that might pop into your head:

-Drug addiction
-Other addiction
-Having an extramarital affair
-Abusing someone close to them
-Breaking the law
-Knowingly hurting someone else

Regardless of what those things are, there are things that those who are close to us can do that would cause us to respond in ways that express our disaproval. We might start by gently telling them we are worried about their behavior/actions/choices. Sometimes we might express our disgust. We might feel we need to exercise "tough love." We may decide that ultimately, we have to back out of the relationship.

But where does "Tough Love" leave off and Judgment, Rejection and Conditional Love begin?

Is it possible that we could actually love without condition...meaning our love doesn't change, no matter what, EVEN IF someone we love is destroying their lives (or even others' lives) right in front of us? Is that love "too unconditional?" Is there such a thing?

One thing is certain: loving under those conditions, and especially loving in a present, there-for-you kind of way would be...well, messy.

But is that when love BECOMES unconditional...right at the point where it gets messy?

What do you think?

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