Love is powerful. Do you believe that? Would you say that love changes things?
The story of the Gospel is a story of love–the love of a Father who couldn’t bear the thought of His children being distant from Him, the love of a God who sacrificed everything for us, the love of a God who doesn’t ever stop chasing us down.
And this love is something that changes things. It changes how we live, how we act, how we think. Love changes how we see. And I forget this far too often.
I’ve grown up learning about this love. And it gets easy to forget just how radical it really is. I know that I’ve sinned but comparison makes me forget how deep sin is and how much my own sin hurts the Father. The Scripture says that the wages of sin is death–death and separation from God (Romans 6:23). But God, in His love refused to leave us there. Instead, He chases us down and shows us His love and says “I will not leave you without a way out.“
Look at the parable of the lost sheep:
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Who am I, the mere one, that God would pursue me?
Who am I, the mere one, that He would say “your life alone is worth My life”?
Who am I to be worthy of His love?
It’s breath-taking and humbling. And so often I forget what it means to be loved so fully and so deeply by Him.
I forget that I was the one, the broken, the outcast. I forget the price that He paid for me, for me. I forget that it’s not an easy thing to keep trusting in God. I forget that I was lost.
And when I forget, I get prideful. I say “I’m saved now, I know who God is.” But if I’m not seeing others the way He sees them, than I am not seeing at all. Because when I look at a lost sheep and say “they will never come to know God,” I’m not seeing a soul, an eternal soul who desperately needs and is yearning for a Savior. I’m not seeing the person God paid the ultimate price for. I’m not seeing the struggle and chains that all people, even I had to surrender to Jesus to fight off, because the mere weight of the darkness seems like it will never be shaken off. No. When I judge someone and say “God could never save them,” I am only seeing a projection of my own guilt, my own shame, my own disbelief. I am seeing myself, in my pain, in my brokenness, in my constant failures, and saying “I will never be enough.” I am believing the lie that God’s love isn’t enough so fix a broken person like me.
Who am I to be saved if all I do is judge others? Who am I to tell God who He can and cannot save? Who am I, so puffed up and proud, to say that my sins are every bit of terrible and yet still more worthy of saving than another’s? Who am I to say “God, You left the ninety-nine for me, for me, but that other person is not worth it; that one is not worth your time.” Who am I?
Because the strange thing about love, God’s love, is that it doesn’t depend on human eyes. He doesn’t ask our opinion. He doesn’t come to our debates in order to hear all of the pros and cons of belief. He just loves. He loves. That’s what He does.
He loves without restraint. He loves without borders. He loves without boundaries. And He loves without neglect.
He loves fully and deeply and earnestly. He loves in words and being and action. He loves and He loves and He loves and He loves and I will never be able to understand it.
Because when I look at myself, I see all that I was. I see the mistakes and the setbacks and my failures. I see the pride and the guilt and the shame. But He looks at me and sees Himself. He sees His child, His creation, His breath. And He says “let Me never leave her in her brokenness. Let Me go and bring her back to Me. Let Me go and make her whole again. And I will pursue her until death and then I will conquer death and pursue her some more, that’s how important she is to Me.”
And the craziest part is that there is absolutely nothing that I could do to make Him love me like this. And there is absolutely nothing that I could do to make Him love me less than this. He chooses to love and pursue solely out of His own love, because that’s the kind of God He is!
Maybe you’re the lost, the one, the sheep bent down, hungry and looking for something to satisfy you. Maybe you haven’t heard His voice before or you did but didn’t listen. Will you listen now? He is standing at the door, knocking. Waiting. Waiting for you.
But maybe you’re the used-to-be one, now part of the ninety-nine, but you’ve distanced yourself from the flock. Maybe you opened the door but you’ve let pride, or guilt, or shame, or the past, or your fear, or disbelief come in and take up the space that you used to share with Christ. Maybe you don’t trust that His love is real and you’ve become distant. Will you listen anew? His is standing at the door, knocking. Waiting for you.
God’s love is everlasting. It doesn’t fail. It doesn’t make mistakes. And it doesn’t stop. When death came, God and His love conquered. When fears come, God and His love conquers. When guilt comes, God and His love conquers. When pride comes, God and His love conquers. Will you trust it?