My Broken Road to Grace: Post Fifteen (Are You experiencing Perfect Love?)
We hear much talk today about unconditional love. It is in the news, on lots of TV programs and has become a buzz word of sorts among those who either write about or publicly discuss it. The Premise is straightforward. To love unconditionally is to take a no strings attached, "I love you no matter what, pass or fail, you are now and always will be loved by me, approach.
In reality I am not sure how many of us as humans are really capable of loving that way, day in and day out, but without question it is a lofty goal to aspire to and one that is set before us in a clear cut pattern by Jesus in part by the way that He loves us. You see, there certainly is no valid argument to the fact that Jesus loves us know matter how many times we fail, how many times we reject Him or let Him down.
Our failure to reciprocate His love for us certainly grieves Him but it never once changes one jot or tittle in the way He feels about us, our how much he wants us to accept Him as our personal Savior. Regardless of How long it takes, In fact even if it never happens and we fail to accept Him making the worst mistake of all that will effect us for eternity, It never changes How He feels, He still wants us to accept His love.
His love however goes even deeper that that. In addition to being unconditional, the Bible says His love is also perfect. 1John 4:18 says: "Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love." So then my friends, what is "perfect" love?
One could say it is the kind of love that one might have for a spouse or children, even a parent or sibling and in my mind I would say that kind of love comes close but even still misses the mark. You know the love I describe, the kind of love that will not change even though the person who is loved might disappoint or even severely hurt the other. How many mothers in this country do you know who spend hours and hours on their knees praying for a wayward child or a spouse who does the same for an alcoholic partner, often without relief for years and yet they still continue, never giving up and they never stop loving. Perfect love I think reaches even farther than that.
Who do you know who would forgive you for deliberately killing their a loved one. I know a lot of people and I can honestly say that I don't know many who would be strong enough to do that regardless of the strength of their faith. And yet, in His "perfect" love for us, that is exactly what God did and continues to do everyday.
You see Jesus came and died for all our sins, every member of the Human race is guilty of sin and needs forgiveness and as such being that we are part of mankind, even though we may not have been there on the day of His crucifixion, His murder if you will, such a travesty for He was indeed sinless and did not deserve to die. We do however then we in fact, share some of that responsibility. If then as sinners guilty without question, God forgives us for that terrible sin without fear of punishment, is that not then the best representation of perfect love. I am confident that it doesn't get much more so and the really nothing comes in at even a close second.
I realize that there are those and in probably large numbers who, calling themselves Christians, strongly disagree with what I just stated above. In fact, I am quite certain, their response might be. "No punishment, that cannot be right, the Bible says and eye for an eye and what about cause and effect? Cancer for the smoker, heart problems for the over eater, divorce or sexually transmitted disease to the adulterer and guilt for the murderer are not all those punishment? To that my answer would be a simple no, not punishment but consequence.
You see God does not cause the horrible consequences to the willful and blatant sin that we readily indulge ourselves in any more than He makes us commit those sins. The consequences are the force of nature. If you play with fire, you will get burned. Sinning is our choice and with choices come consequences. It makes sense then when you think about it. If you jump in front of a moving train you will most likely die. The decision however to jump belongs to you. It is your choice and God doesn't make you jump any more than he makes you die as a result of your actions. The Jump and subsequent death all come to pass as a result of your choices.
It is the same with the other sins mentioned earlier and their consequences. God doesn't make you sin, In fact He prefers that you don't and even goes as far as to instruct not to by giving us justification as to why we shouldn't. The Bible says "the wages of sin is death." It can't get more clear than that. God wants us to know if we make certain choices while there will in fact be ramifications, there simply will not be punishment. That is simply not the way a loving and forgiving God works, Never has, Never Will.
As you spend this day, doing whatever you plan to do, stop for just a moment to think about God's perfect love and the amazing gift of His Son Jesus Christ. Then pause to thank Him for loving us enough to forgive us without punishment for our sins, a gift of which we are so UN-deserving.Then revel in the peace and glory of His forever unconditional and perfect love and strive to serve Him more in exchange for his love and grace.