[Submitted for KBR's 2014 Essay Contest]

by Bella M.


So many different thoughts come to the mind when we think of this simple, four-letter word that can hold such great meaning.

In the world we live in, we are taught to believe that love is a feeling. We are taught that if someone hurts you or inconveniences you, it’s okay to stop loving them. Unconditional love is hard to find in today’s culture.

Yet I have to wonder if this is what love is meant to be.

You see, if love is only supposed to make us happy and make us feel good, I would think that Jesus would have walked away from the cross long before the night of His death. He would not have thought twice about being whipped, beaten, and nailed to a cross for people who turned their backs on Him. Even so, Jesus died for us anyway. Why?

Because love isn’t a feeling.

Love isn’t meant to always make you happy. It isn’t always meant to give you everything you want. Love hurts sometimes. It breaks our hearts and brings tears to our eyes. Unconditional love is not easy, but it’s a choice that we are called to make.

Showing unconditional love to others may seem easy with those people who are naturally lovable and easy to get along with.

But showing unconditional love to those who reject you, hurt you, or break your heart, is a completely different story. That’s when it begins to get hard and it’s a choice that isn’t easy to make.

I think that’s when we can learn a lesson from the story of Jonah.

Jonah 1:2 tells us, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness is come up before Me.” When you first read this verse, you automatically think about Jonah being called by God to arise and go to a geographic location, Nineveh. However, I think this verse means so much more.

What would happen if we thought about how that simple verse relates to us? What if we saw unconditional love as our Nineveh?

Because sometimes going to the place where God calls us doesn’t always mean geographically. Sometimes it means spiritually.

Showing unconditional love to a sibling by forgiving their mistakes even when you don’t feel like extending such grace will most certainly be difficult at times.

Showing unconditional love to friend by confronting a sin in their life will take a lot of strength.

It will be hard. You won’t want to do it.

But Jonah didn’t want to do it either.

Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh. He fled in the opposite direction. He fled to Tarshish, the farthest known location available to him at that time from Nineveh. He would have rather died than obey God.

Nineveh can represent to us the moments when we don’t feel like loving others. It can represent the times when we don’t want to give a listening ear to a chattering sibling, when we don’t want to fold laundry for our tired mother, or when we don’t want to forgive that person who hurt our hearts deeply. At these moments we will want to run in the opposite direction and flee to “Tarshish.”

But where did that get Jonah? It got him in the belly of a giant fish.

So when you are tired and hurting, and you don’t feel like loving, turn to Jesus and find your strength in His love for you.

Let Him be the strength you need. And allow Him to lead you to your Nineveh.


Bella M. (17) is a homeschool graduate who desires to live her life for the glory of Jesus. She enjoys writing and reading. She also loves participating in the National Bible Bee each year.