Is it possible for us as human beings to comprehend God’s love for us? God’s love is so huge that as the song says “If we with ink the ocean filled or were the skies of parchment made…to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry…” (“O Love of God” by Frederick M. Lehman). If we caught a good glimpse, we would be absolutely overwhelmed by it.
But everyone longs for that love. I often think about a quote by Joyce Meyer that helps me picture God’s love. “Love is not something God does, it is who He is.” I know God loves me unconditionally, and yes, I realize that God is love according to I John 4:8. But still, I sometimes wonder how God can love me in his pure unconditional manner, and that love seems illusive.
It seems contradictory–God loves us without reservation but He does not love everything we do. He doesn’t. Some of you may remember the movie “Dirty Dancing” in which Frances (Baby) tells her father (and I don’t remember the exact quote) “If you love me, you’ve got to love everything about me.” Sounds good, but as with many things that sound good, Baby was wrong. Yep. You read that right. If a friend says they love everything about me, that is not unconditional love. If that same friend gently helps me see when I have done wrong—for example I might have been dishonest with that friend or they saw me take advantage of someone—that to me, is love. It is not judgment; it is loving me enough to help me correct the wrongs in my life. (Now, there is a big difference between lovingly and prayerfully correcting a person and continually nagging, constantly criticizing, or trying to “fix” someone. But that is a topic in itself.)
God loves us in spite of what we may do, in spite of our anger, disbelief, rebelliousness, bad habits, addictions, and you name it. (Something in your life probably came to mind as you read this.) But does that mean we continue in those behaviors because, after all, God will still love us, right? Yes, God will still love us, BUT because of what our sin (wrong behavior) does to us and to others, He wants us to turn from those sins. Can you see that? God loves us so much, He wants us to turn from behaviors that are not good for us.
When we turn to him, the things controlling us will start to fade away. It may be very gradual. We might not even notice the changes, but they are occurring. I admit I have heard of people who immediately had victory over smoking or drinking alcohol. One lady’s negative attitude changed to an amazing ability to find joy in life, and her very countenance reflected this. But for most of us, change is a process.
A Moment to Reflect
Love is who God is.
In His love God sent His son, Jesus, who died to pay the price for your sins and mine.
In repentance, we turn away from the sin and to God. That is the only way to defeat sin. We can’t just “try our best” to behave better. While we still have a decision to make regarding sin, the Holy Spirit will guide us and help us make good decisions.
Don’t beat ourselves up when we have sinned. Turn from that particular sin. Know Jesus’ arms are waiting, and He will forgive. He may not love the behavior, but He loves you.
Don’t equate mistakes with sin. A sin is not necessarily what angers others or even what makes us feel guilty. Get that straight. If we have a difficult time distinguishing between sin and guilt feelings, we can ask for God’s guidance, and read what God’s word says is sin. God will relieve the guilt and shame as we look to Him.
God, I know You are here with me, and You love me as no other can. Help me be aware of that always, and help me to know that You do forgive. You are so crazy about me that it is hard to imagine the depth of Your love. Help me to turn to You for guidance and to find godly Christians who can help me in my walk with You.
Scriptures to read: I John 4:8; John 3:16; Acts 20:21; I Corinthians 10:13; Romans 8:1