“On your best day, if you did everything right and nothing wrong, I would still have no reason to love you, because I am completely holy, completely sinless and all together perfect.”
That’s the statement He dropped into me, and then allowed to begin to unfold. The unfolding looks something like this ~
God never had a reason to love me. Never demanded one, and still doesn’t. His love just “is”.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Before I was good, He loved me. Before I was righteous, He loved me. Before I could possibly give Him a reason to love me, He loved me.
Look at Hosea 3:1 ~ “The LORD said to me, ‘Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.’”
Israel, like us, gave God no reason to love her, and in fact, gave Him plenty of reason not to love her…just like us. And yet…He loves. It is unreasonable.
Unreasonable: not governed by or acting according to reason; not conformable to reason; exceeding the bounds of reason. (Webster)
Over the years, the question of why God loves us has come up, and I learned to give one or both of the two standard Christian answers.
- “He loves you because you are His. Just like you love your children because they are yours.” Not a bad answer, except that scripture says I became His child once I believed in Jesus and received Him as Savior. (John 1:12) That would mean that I gave God a reason to love me when I accepted Christ. But since God “so loved the world”, and Jesus died “while we were yet sinners”…the parent illustration doesn’t quite work. And giving this “reason” to a parent who has not loved their child, who has committed atrocities against their child, well…it won’t hold water with them.
- “He loves you because He is love”. 1John 4:16 tells us that God is love (noun). But throughout the whole bible, He also does love (verb). The question is why does He (verb), not why is He (noun). To say we are loved because God is love is akin to saying He loves us because He has no choice. Jesus’ death on the cross was a verb, and it was a choice He made…God giving His only Son was a choice made by love (noun) to love (verb). So once again, the standard answer isn’t really an answer.
He loves us without reason, and in my mind, that’s completely unreasonable. So I asked the question, “why is this so hard for us to grasp, and to believe?”. His answer plunged into a deep place in me.
“Because deep down, you believe that love must have a reason. And that belief is what keeps you continually living life attempting to give Me a reason to love you. It’s also why you demand others give you a reason to love them.”
I find myself in deep waters. His love won’t fit into the box anymore. It is beyond explanation and completely without reason. It is there for me and for you. For people doing their best and for those doing the worst. All of us who give Him no reason to love us.
Unreasonable love has started a fire in me. And I want more. I want it to consume me and compel me to take it to the world, or at least to the next person I meet. I want it to turn my relationship with God upside down. I want it to push past the barriers of my western Christianity and take me into places I would otherwise not have gone.
I want all of that, but right now, the fire that has started is burning to know Him more. I burn to draw closer to His heart, to live my life in the presence of the One who compels angels to sing “Holy, holy, holy” day and night. I want to gaze into this unreasonable love, until I no longer draw back or avert my eyes.