Saturday, October 24, 2009

Unconditional Love

God loves me unconditionally. Whether He is proud of me or disappointed in me, God loves me the same. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. But what does that really mean? After all, God isn't like some over-indulgent parent who lets us get away with anything. God has high moral and ethical standards that He wants us to uphold, and there are consequences when we sin. Sometimes God even gets angry with us, but God still loves us even when we reject Him and His standards. God wants good things for us no matter how bad our actions are, and He wants to save us more than He wants us to pay for our sins. Unconditional love means that even when we're at our worst, God is looking and hoping for our best, and He's dedicated to helping us improve, if we'll let Him.

Unconditional love is a lot harder for me than it is for God. I don't have God's wisdom and patience, and I'm not invested in my peers the same way God is invested in His creation. What motivates me to commit to loving flawed individuals, no matter what happens? In the end I realize that I try to love others because I love God. God gives me really good reasons to love Him—He is after all a flawless and amazing being who gives me good gifts and is committed to my well-being. Because I love God, I try to do what He wants me to do. God's commandment to me is "love your neighbor as yourself," not "love your righteous neighbors but hate the evil ones." God wants me to love unconditionally, so I try to comply out of love for Him.

I realize that love and like are not the same. I'm sure there are times when God doesn't like us very much because we're being so stubborn and destructive, but God still wants things to turn around for us. God is more focused on rehabilitation than retribution when it comes to dealing with sinners—His love for us trumps His dislike of our actions. Sometimes it's hard for me to feel the same way. It's hard to imagine being faced with someone like Hitler and thinking, "I wish you could be healed so that you would stop hurting people and become a healthy, whole person," instead of, "I hope you burn in Hell for what you've done." While I don't care to speculate on what happened to Hitler after he died, I honestly think that God really wants to reform everyone if possible, even people who have done truly terrible things. I certainly don't have to like these people, and I have a right to be angry when they do terrible things to other people, but if I love them I should still hope and pray that they can become better people and be saved from the evil that has taken over their lives.

Love is the basis for compassion, and I cannot hope for healing in others' lives unless I have at least some small bit of compassion for them. I think that people who do really terrible things must be suffering dreadfully inside because they are mutilating their souls by behaving in a way this is so contrary to the purpose for which they were created. It can be hard to have compassion on people who are willfully hurting themselves and others, but I think it's still necessary. Compassion allows me to look for the causes of bad behavior to see if there's something I can do to alleviate those causes. A person can be both victim and villain, and sometimes if you help the victim, the villain disappears. As long as I can see a trace of humanity left in a person, I have to hope that he or she can be reached, that a better future is possible. It can be so difficult to find humanity in someone who has done awful things, but because I know God can see it, I challenge myself to look for it too. I may not have the power to divert others from a path of destruction and depravity, but as long as I still have some love, compassion, and hope for them, I have made my love stronger than their sins. There's something very empowering in that.

No comments:

Christian Love Lessons - Free Blogger Templates - by Templates para novo blogger