Could unconditional love change the world?

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Several decades ago, two researchers published a study called Adverse Childhood Experiences. This study connected the negative behavior of a teenager—and even poor health—to traumatic childhood experiences.

The study isn’t all bad news and depressing statistics, though. The researchers concluded that these behaviors and health issues can be offset by something: love.

Unconditional love in a world of science

When we hear people talk about love changing the world, it’s easy to roll our eyes and call them flower children. Or we think how wonderful it would be for all to love like God, but we know it’ll never happen this side of heaven. We obey one of God’s greatest commandments when we love others, but can that kind of love really change the world? I mean, come on.

But have you ever looked into the science behind love? Yes, believe it or not, we can look at the scientific evidence of something people call “fleeting emotions.”

The thoughts we have shape our neural networks in our brains (simply put). When we make the same connection again and again in our brains, we create stronger connections. In other words, we’re shaping our brain to be familiar with that connection. If we stop receiving that connection regularly, our brains will begin to eliminate those connections.

Yeah, it can be confusing. You can check out this article or this one to learn more. However, you’ll have to decide for yourself how valid their explanations are. We simply looked at the basic science in each article. Or, you can Google the chemical and neural effects thoughts have on the brain.

It sounds a little crazy, but if we think about these connections in our brains, it’s easy to see how loving or not loving someone can change these connections. When a child grows up neglected and not receiving love, their brains will never make strong connections in regards to love. They won’t know how to receive love or give it.

So when we withhold love from someone, we’re not only disobeying God, but we’re stealing an opportunity to change someone’s life.

The possibility of unconditional love

Can you imagine growing up and never experiencing the unconditional love of a parent, a sibling, even a friend? Yet millions of people live life this way. They have never made those connections in their brains. They live in fight or flight mode. Soon, their brains can’t even recognize love.

While this sounds dramatic, this truly is reality for more than we realize. Suddenly, thinking about unconditional love changing the lives of those around us doesn’t sound so crazy.

And once again, science is catching up with a concept that’s been around since the beginning of time. Since even before then. God, in His infinite wisdom, has been loving us unconditionally since the beginning (Jeremiah 31:3). He’s created our brains to need that consistency, and He provides a way for us to easily receive it.

Godly love might be uncommon, but it’s surely not impossible. It feels overwhelming and ridiculous to think about changing the world, but thankfully God doesn’t command us to change the world. He commands us to love one another as He has loved us (John 13:34).

One person at a time. One neural connection at a time.  

Can you imagine the possibilities? The opportunities we have to change someone’s life? We may not have the ability to begin a world-relief organization or travel around the world spreading love, but we can start in our homes. In our neighborhoods. In our churches and communities.

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day tomorrow, as we receive love from others, as we accept God’s perfect love, may we remember God did not just command us to love in order to give us something to do. Just as our lives have changed as a result of those who love us, we can change the lives of others.

We can reflect God’s love and glorify Him as we show others they’re worth it. And in doing so, we can change the world one person at a time.

Let’s Talk About It: How can you unconditionally love others?

 

This article is a part of the linkup at Seeking God and Purposeful Faith.

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14 Replies to “Could unconditional love change the world?”

  1. I think the only way to unconditionally love, is to keep God at the forefront of our hearts, minds, beings. He is the ultimate example. If our desire is to be in line with Him, we will feel promptings of love in our Spirit. We will do things that we think back on as “wow” moments. We will seek out those to show love to and bless. It only takes one spark, to light a fire. <3 Seek God, unconditional love will follow!

    1. Thanks, Chelsea! Yes, it was amazing to read about some of the studies done with kids who grew up without someone loving them. Once they formed relationships with people who truly did love them, their attitudes changed drastically!

  2. I think the only way I can unconditionally love others is by growing in faith and asking God to make me more like Him. This is the only way I will ever be able to do it!

  3. What an amazing post! It is so sad to me how many people have never truly experienced “love.” God’s love is unconditional, beautiful, and it never fails. It is such a blessing to experience such a love like that!

    1. Thanks so much, Keisha! Yes, I completely agree. It’s also sad how even though they don’t experience love from another person, they still have the love of God but don’t see that either. It really stirs me to want to love more and more!

  4. “God’s love might be uncommon, but it’s not impossible” amen! 🙌🏽
    I’ve always shared your view that sharing His love starts where we are, we don’t have to travel the world to be able to spread his love, we can start right here.

    1. I used to feel guilty about not doing more mission trips or things along those lines, but I’ve come to realize that God has me where I am for a reason, and I can’t waste that! Thanks so much for reading, Mary!

  5. Unfortunately this is a very true situation. Most of my therapy clients are children who have endured horrendous trauma in their formative brain development years. Their understanding of love and attachment is skewed. Their innate view of the world is that it is unsafe and that all people will eventually hurt or leave them. It is a painful and life-long process of healing that never completely goes away.

    1. I never really realized this truth until looking into it more. It’s so sad how people don’t receive love and then we easily judge them for their behaviors. I hope I will have eyes to see those who need love each and every day!

  6. I think we can unconditionally love on another by communicating. So many of us struggle with plain ole communication. We either have not been raised learning how to communicate, or we have been taught the wrong things about communication. You’re right – Valetines Day is a great time to remember what REAL love is.

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