Of Dogs and Unconditional Love

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The scene at the beginning of this post is my favorite from one of my favorite Disney/Pixar movies. Don’t look at me like that, it’s a good movie with nice message. In fact, while most Disney movies send abominable messages to young people, Pixar films seem to go the opposite direction. For example, movies like Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty tell young girls they must wait around for their prince to rescue them. However, in Pixar’s Brave, the main character, Merida, decides to take her life in her own hands and marry whomever she chooses. In the process, her and her mother’s pride damage the clan. In the end, But in the end, both Merida and her mother put aside their pride and reconcile. See, no prince and the girl doesn’t wait around to be rescued. Back to the subject at hand, though. There is one line in the clip above that sums up how most dogs react to new people: “I have just met you and I love you”. Dogs are the perfect example of unconditional love. No matter how bad their master may have acted, they keep coming back, excited their person is there. Dogs love you because you’re there (and you provide the food, let’s be realistic here) and that’s that.

Would that people practiced unconditional love as well as dogs. Imagine a world where people walked up to strangers and said “I have just met you and I love you”; a world where people helped others because it’s the right thing to do, self-interest be damned. If people practiced the same kind of unconditional love that you get from a dog, wars would be a thing of the past, as would hunger, poverty, and sickness. We wouldn’t judge people for who they love, we’d just love the both of them. We wouldn’t be spending tons of money for prisons, incarcerating people for minor offenses. What would it be like if everyone loved each other just because; no ulterior motives, no “what have you done for me lately”, just loved each other because we are all God’s children on this earth. Of course, we should probably leave out some of the dog’s less savory habits, even if it would be interesting at fancy occasssions watching people trying to sniff each others butts.

If the situation I describe above seems vaguely familiar, that’s because you’ve heard it before. Like in the Sermon on Mount, where Jesus said:

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i]   and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children   of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?   Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Or, maybe you heard it here:

 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands,   you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends   if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you   so that you might go and bear fruit —fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.”

Or maybe even here:

” Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, 5 it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, 6 it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. 7 Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

You may call this is a pipe dream. I call it the Kingdom of Heaven.