The "IF kind of love" says, "I will love you IF you do things my way, IF you give me gifts, IF you become a good provider, IF you get a good report card at school." It is a conditional love based upon future expectations. If these conditions are not met, then like a legal contract, love is broken. This is a selfish love because it is solely based upon future expectations. It is love that must be earned. Most marriages fail because they are based upon this conditional love. Children are often heard saying, "I will be your friend" IF you let me play with your new toy; till then I hate you. Thus the IF kind of love is a fickle unstable love. This is the childish love we are all born with. It is a worldly love of natural instincts. We need to mature out of the IF kind of love!
The "because of" kind of love says, "I will love you BECAUSE you are now young and beautiful, BECAUSE I now desire you, BECAUSE you are now popular, BECAUSE you are now in good health or wealthy, BECAUSE I feel good when I am with you." This kind of love is common among teenagers because it is solely based upon the others current status. The BECAUSE OF kind of love is also doomed to failure in marriage. When someone proclaims, "I have fallen out of love" they have fallen out of the "because of" kind of love, not true love. This kind of love is not in tune with reality when it demands that things stay the same in an ever changing world. Like the If kind of love, it is unstable and fickle. It is full of doubts and fears for what tomorrow might bring.
True love is the "in spite of kind of love". It says, "I love you IN SPITE OF your faults, IN SPITE OF being fat and ugly, IN SPITE OF the times you are selfish and inconsiderate, IN SPITE OF when you sin against me," True love is unconditional. It is the love that God loves us with. It is a love we don't naturally possess but must learn. It is an enduring love that doesn't even keep a score card. It will always be there tomorrow regardless of what we have done today. This is the kind of love that 50th "golden" anniversaries are made of. Romans 5:6-8 says, "For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the very good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Notice the contrast between conditional and unconditional love in this verse. Christ didn't die for us BECAUSE we were very good and worth dying for. Rather He died for us in SPITE OF the fact we were worthless sinners. Oh "to know the love of Christ which surpasses comprehension," Ephesians 3:19.
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