Saturday, January 20, 2007

Unconditional love

God's love is unconditional. There are no limits to His love, and nothing we can do to increase or diminish it. Surely this is an inarguable axiom, isn't it?

Since God's love is unconditional, one might surmise, it follows that He can never be displeased with any of us; His blessings are assured, no strings attached. Whether i seek His will or go my own way, God holds me in the same high regard. Even were i to deliberately commit grave sin, and willfully reject God, He would love and embrace me all the same. In fact, if God's love is all-encompassing, perhaps there is no such thing as sin. My consciousness of wrongdoing before God is just my own imaginative mistake; in reality i cannot offend God at all, since He loves me no matter what. Quite obviously, then, there can be no Hell, and i can be sure of enjoying eternal life hereafter regardless of how i may have lived in this world. Even Hitler and Mussolini must be in Heaven.

But wait - can love be thrust upon someone who doesn't want it? Would that be true love? It may be better to say that love, by definition, must be freely offered, not forced upon the recipient. And if freely offered, it must be freely received. This means it may also be freely rejected. This is what sin is: a rejection of God's love, and of the demands of that love. We must, in fact, be able to completely and finally reject God's offer of love. This is what Hell is. Jesus, the very embodiment of God's love, warned of eternal Hell more than any other prophet or teacher of the Bible.

If everybody eventually goes to Heaven regardless of how they live, this life on earth is ultimately meaningless. How loving would God be to put us through all the pain, turmoil, and angst of this life for no ultimate reason? But if there is Heaven to gain and Hell to avoid by the choices we make, then life truly has meaning and purpose.

I'm beginning to think that the term 'unconditional love' can be considered an oxymoron!

Moreover, an unconditional love which makes no demands, which always accepts the recipient just as he is, seems quite passive. Neither participant is expected to do much of anything; it is an agreement to just let be, much the same as indifference. But God's love is anything but passive or indifferent. Jesus loved us to the point of dying on the cross to restore our broken relationship with the Father. He requires something from us as well.

To be sure, God's plan is a very, very lenient and easy one. He gives us, not an unconditional promise, but one with very easy conditions: If we agree with God that our sin is evil, repent of those sins, and join ourselves to the crucified and risen Jesus, He is happy to forgive us and gather us into his eternal home. Is this unconditional love? I think it's better.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi Honey i just read your analysis of God's Love and i truly admire your holy words. All i want to do is to share some of that unconditional love with you and i am so very thankful for all the time we have shared in it especially in our Holy Sacrament of Matrimony -- what a real, authentic Blessing you have been in my life here on this planet and i do look forward to sharing in His Love for the rest of my life.