“We live in a cynical world. A cynical world. And we work in a business of tough competitors. I love you. You... complete me.” “Shut up, just shut up…you had me at hello.”
- Jerry Maguire
Unconditional love at its best. I cried at this scene. Partly because it was so touching but partly because I wondered about my own marriage. Do we have that kind of love? That kind of romance? Do we complete each other? I suppose in the beginning we did, or thought we did, but then the expectations crept in. And when the expectations came and went unmet, that’s when the love was tempered with anger and disappointment.
Is it possible for me to love my husband unconditionally? What about my kids? I think I do because when my best friend tells me about her daughter’s latest academic award or community service project, my first reaction is to report the fact that my kids just hit level 80 in World of Warcraft, secure in the knowledge that my gamers are doing just fine. But my second reaction is to storm into the house and yell at them to get off the video games and get some homework done.
As a flawed, imperfect person, I am incapable of loving unconditionally, at least on my own. As long as I am looking to another person to complete me, to build me up, or validate me, I will never have my expectations met.
So is there any hope?
One of my favorite Bible stories is the one about the adulteress.
“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?” – John 8:4-5
What did Jesus say? Did He say “what were you thinking, woman” or “I told you this would happen.” No, because Jesus is complete. Our actions do not reflect on Him. He, the Son, being in perfect relationship with God the Father, doesn’t need validation or acceptance so there are no expectations. There is no anger or disappointment. His response to her was simply “Go, and sin no more.” - John 8:11
And if this woman was interviewed on Oprah after that encounter, I am confident that she would report that she sinned no more. Not because yet another person was telling her what to do, but because she felt, probably for the first time in her life, unconditional love.