Embracing Love

"If your understanding of God is radically false, then the more devout you are the worse it will be for you" - William Temple

What makes for human individual and corporate thriving is a fascinating question for me. What gives life and joy and inner peace for individuals and harmony in society?

Any religion that teaches people to serve others obviously has some benefits for society in contrast to narcissism and competitiveness. But it can be a problem for individuals IF the god behind it is harsh and demanding, if no matter how much you give and serve, it's never enough. That's an anxious and oppressive space to live in... you're better off psychologically being an atheist than believing in that kind of god.

The image of God that has been sitting with me powerfully lately is around that primal wave of love most (reasonably healthy) people feel when they hold their newborn child. To me this gives a profound insight into the theological claim "God IS love".

The baby is adored for being unique. The baby is adored for being your own child. The baby is adored, because we have a powerful insight in that moment that a human life is incredibly precious.

But note... The baby hasn't done one single thing to earn love. Their immense value is in who they are, not in what they do.
I see this as a wonderful reflection of the God who IS love, and how this God feels about us.

For people who embrace with their hearts that they live in and are surrounded by unconditional love, life becomes a deeply joyous thing... and it becomes more and more natural to see other people as precious and worthy of love. So doing the right thing by others is not a matter of duty, but a glad upwelling from the heart and soul.

Another joyous discovery is believing that the God who IS love has given you unique gifts and opportunities to make a difference. God invites us to make the world a better place using these gifts. This service is life-giving for you and for other people (particularly if you can find the service that is the right "fit" for the shape of your soul).

Is this sort of God "true"? Well it can't be proved our disproved in some kind of scientific experiment. What I do feel strongly is that those who are able to embrace this view of God have a deeply blessed life. Love and peace and deep joy are the fruit of a life that gives and receives unconditional love. The ability to embrace this may be a gift, but I can't think of a better gift on earth.


Anonymous said…
"Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me."
Janet Woodlock said…
Excuse the long delay in responding to your comment Anonymous!

Do the scriptures warn of ultimate unpleasant destiny for those who fail to embrace love... absolutely.

Are we in a season of grace in this life? Absolutely. He died for the sins of the whole world.

Does getting things in the right order matter? Absolutely. The way to enter a life of love where we feed and clothe and visit those in need rightly comes when we embrace the love of God for ourselves, which overflows into compassion for others.

Tending the needs of others not out of the Spirit's love upwelling within, but because of legalism, tends to lead to either pride or an endless sense that nothing you do is ever enough. This does not emerge from a place of compassion.

In God's economy "If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing."

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