Tuesday, December 29, 2009
God's love, your home
God’s love is not conditioned by your response. It could never be conditioned by so changeable a thing, because the Father’s love is your home. It remains there, whether you remain there or not.
He does not love you because you repent. Love could not be an Effect of repentance because his love precedes repentance. God’s love is, therefore, the Cause; and, if it is The Cause, it is also unconditioned. We repent not because we think that, by doing so, we will somehow earn his love; rather, we repent because we are loved. The thing that scandalizes us most is the gob-smacking truth that there really exists Someone that loves us all (all of us!) whether we “get it right” or not.
The hardest task we face in this life is not the task of loving; it is the task of learning to be loved unconditionally, to trust that such a love exists, and to remain in that unqualified love—and more, to live as though we are loved without such qualification or condition. To live in this kind of unqualified love is to live in true freedom. All other “freedoms” seem true but are truly false.
We believe the lie that, somehow, God’s love should be earned. We believe this because that is how “love” works in this world: we experience acceptance when we perform according to the arbitrary and changing expectations of others. If others want us to be intelligent, then we will try to be smarter to gain their acceptance. If they want us to be more light-hearted, we will learn to tell jokes. If they want us to be holier, we will memorize and kneel and quit and behave—to gain their acceptance. If they want us to be not-so-holy, we will bend and sneer and envy—to gain acceptance. We want to be liked, we want to have many friends, to get good grades, to work hard and make a living, to succeed at whatever we are assigned and, if possible, to be promoted.
If people in this world want many things from you, God has but one desire for you: He simply wants to call you, each and every day, his Beloved. He does not make demands of you the way the world does.
Why is it so hard to just let ourselves be loved? Why must we keep trying to prove to ourselves, to others, to God that we are somehow “worthy” of love? You are made in the image of God-there is no greater worth than that.
And notice: the imago Dei is itself unearned. It has been given to you as a gift of love. There is no “demand” except the choice to remain the Father’s Beloved. This is hardly a “demand”; it is better called a privilege.
True love is unconditional; if it could be earned, it would become conditional and therefore become something other than love. Such love can only be found in God, for only God’s love takes you just as you are. Such love is freedom, rest and peace. For all the displaced peoples of the world (and we are all displaced) such love is your true home. Welcome God's unconditional embrace.
If you want to be more like God, remove your conditions to love, let yourself be loved, and simply remain in love. Amen.