Here In the Love of Christ I Stand
I think God’s love makes people nervous. When we try to wrap our puny human brains around the idea of “for God so loved the world,” we freeze in fear. The world? Like the whole world? Even the terrorists and George W. Bush and my pervy next-door neighbor?
In The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning writes this:
“One thing we do know: We don’t comprehend the love of Jesus Christ. Oh, we see a movie and resonate to what a young man and woman will endure for romantic love. We know that when the chips are down, if we love wildly enough we’ll fling life and caution to the winds for the one we love. But when it comes to God’s love in the broken, blood-drenched body of Jesus Christ, we get antsy and start to talk about theology, divine justice, God’s wrath and the heresy of universalism.”
In a blow against the very human concept of favoritism, we have a hard time comprehending how God can love a rapist and Mother Teresa equally. Is He blind? Cannot He not see that one is far more worthy of love than another? I am starting to get the sneaky feeling that God’s love isn’t based so much on who we are, but perhaps that we simply are. He loved us from the beginning, before our bodies were formed, before we start making mistakes, before we began hurting people or over-consuming or driving Hummers. He loves us because we exist.
“For You created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from You
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in Your book
before one of them came to be.”
Psalm 139: 13-16
This truest kind of unconditional love always gives us the option of grace. Anything less, a love with qualifications and boundaries, would have no room for redemption. Christ’s empty tomb showed us that we can no longer have crucifixion without resurrection. He insists that we always have the options of light and dark. His love is simply a path with hints that show up in all kinds of ways, reminding us that He is still there if and when we are ready to choose Him. If He waited for us all to be worthy before He loved us and saved us, we would never have gotten very far east of Eden. We have been breaking God’s heart since the beginning, when Abel’s blood cried out from the dust. But still He endures in love because He can do nothing else. He is hopelessly in love with this broken humanity and history is littered with stories of the lengths He goes to in order to show us.
I don’t get it personally and am pretty sure I never will. I can know that all sin is equal but still be more repulsed by murder than I am by someone who lies. It is not up to me to qualify God’s love. All I can do is say “yes” or “no.”
Every day, every moment, with every breath and heartbeat, I answer…