'Do we really love God?'

Thursday Reflection

20th August 2020

'with all your heart?'

27 Jesus answered,
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart
  and with all your soul and with all your strength
  and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbour as yourself.'"
   - Luke 10:27

If someone asks us if we love the Lord
our natural reaction is to say, 'Yes'.
But imagine if we asked a friend who we knew well,
a kind, loving, patient, giving, caring person
who we knew has a heart for those who do not know Jesus,
and received the answer, 'No.'

Why would they give that answer?
We were sure they loved the Lord,
it was obvious in the way they lived their life,
in the person they were.
What showed was a humble spirit;
yes, they loved the Lord,
but knew there was no way they could ever
love God the way God loves them.

We may love the Lord,
but there is no way we can ever love the Lord
the way he loves us.

We cannot help but fail to love him
with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

God loves us so much that we cannot fully grasp
the size of his love.
His love is measureless.
We tend to look at everything in numbers and point systems.
If I make straight A's on my report card,
perhaps my parents will love me more.
If I do the laundry and run the errands,
cook a special meal,
perhaps my partner will love me more.
If I buy my child this toy,
perhaps he / she will love me more.
We daily think of things we can do
to make others love us more.

In fact, we even do it to ourselves;
if I lose a few pounds,
read this self-help book,
volunteer, perhaps I can love myself more.

We think we can earn points by doing things,
because it is instilled in us from the very beginning.

There is a saying I frequently used
which always made an impact on my listeners
during my prison ministry,

'There is nothing we can do to make God love us more,
and there's nothing we can do to make God love us less.'

God's boundless love does not keep a points system.
He does not love our ordained ministers
any more than a drug addict who wanders into a service.
He loves the one sitting in the back pews
as much as the one sitting in the front.
He loves the one who gives enormous amounts of offering
as much as the one who gives nothing.
He loves the one in prison
as much as the church youth worker.

I have to constantly remind myself of this
when I see a person passed out on a park bench,
hear someone speaking rudely,
watch the actions of defiant teenagers
or an impatient person who cuts in in front of me
when I'm are waiting in a queue.

They are the neighbours Jesus speaks about when he says,

'Love your neighbour as yourself.'

God hates the act but loves the sinner.
We are all sinners.
The only difference between the Christian
and the non-Christian
is the grace of God through the sacrifice of Jesus.

So when we entertain the idea that we are better than the other person,
or are feeling pleased with ourselves
about what we are doing for the church,
we need to think again.

The only good in us, is God.

Do we fully understand that kind of love?
Do we completely love a God who loves us like this?

If we answer humbly in truthfulness, the answer is, 'No.'

But God will help us love him
and our neighbours more each day, if we can ask him.