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24
Apr

The Uncontrollable, Uncontrolling, Unconditional Love of God

Posted by on in Adventures in Faith & Family
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God is love! God is steadfast love! Mercy, lovingkindness, compassion, grace – these are the core of who God is, as described in scripture.   “God is love!” is the most used phrase about God within the Jewish tradition.  Jesus echoed this description of God, as do our Muslim brothers and sisters.  In Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Hinduism and other world faiths, love is at the core of how one should live. 

 

God’s love is uncontrollable.  By this I mean that I believe that God can be nothing but love.  It is God’s very nature to be love.  It wasn’t a decision that God made one day.  God didn’t say, “Well, of all these possible approaches, I’m going to choose love!”  God’s being is love!  It is who God is.  That’s what I mean by uncontrollable!  God can’t help but love the creation to which God gave birth. God can’t control the depth of love God feels for all of creation.

 

God’s love is uncontrolling.  For love to be love, it can’t control the one being loved.  A parent who makes all the decisions for and determines the future for their child, giving no space for the child to learn, and try, and become who they are, is not loving that child.  A spouse who dominates their partner, giving no room in decision making, and honouring nothing of what their partner is – is not loving.  Control isn’t love.  So God’s love, which is true love, is uncontrolling.  In love, God releases us, giving creation freedom and choice.

 

That’s the hard one, and I know that I don’t have this all figured out – who can truly describe God?  But here’s what I’m contemplating right now.  There are times in our lives and in our world when we want God to come and control a few things.  We watch tragedy and disaster and suffering and ask, “Why isn’t God doing something about this?”  Yet, God is there, loving, suffering, longing, and caring. God is there inviting us to enter into the situation, to use our compassion and gifts, to work together to bring healing and comfort and hope.  Yet, uncontrolling love which has given humans freedom and invited humans to be part of the healing and repair of the world, doesn’t just suddenly jump in and take control. 

 

“God is with us” – Emmanuel – was one of the names given to Jesus.  In Jesus, God entered into human suffering, rather than sitting some safe distance away.  The uncontrollable, uncontrolling love of God journeys with us into whatever we are facing.  It still doesn’t totally make sense.  But this makes more sense to me that saying that a loving God who would choose for one person to suffer and one group of people to be massacred while sparing someone else or some other group from the same fate.  So, what I am coming to believe is that God can be nothing but love, and that the love of God is not about control, as much as we’d like it to be.

 

Finally, I believe that God’s love is unconditional.  Jesus once said, “Don’t judge, so that others don’t judge you.”  That’s unconditional love.  We don’t get to choose to love this person and not that person.  We don’t get to draw a line and show compassion only to those on our side of the line.  We don’t get to say who is worthy of God’s love and who is not.  God’s love is unconditional.  God’s heart enfolds everyone – pushing beyond the boundaries that we so easily set as human beings.

 

As those who have chosen to follow the Way of Jesus, we seek to let this uncontrollable, uncontrolling, unconditional love become more and more of who we are.  We are made in God’s image – this steadfast, compassionate, grace-filled love of God is within us.  Day by day, as we practice our faith and open ourselves to the Spirit, we learn how to let this love be uncontrollable, uncontrolling, and unconditional.

 

Uncontrollable – as we open ourselves more and more to the Spirit, we can’t help but let God’s love flow through us to other people and to all of creation.

 

Uncontrolling – as we deepen the sense of God’s love in our own lives, we don’t seek to control who another person is or what they do, as a condition of our love.

 

Unconditional – as we learn more from Jesus, we don’t judge; we look for Christ in everyone, for the love in their hearts, even when it is hard to find.

 

And as those who care for children, we seek to enfold our children, no matter the age, with uncontrollable, uncontrolling and unconditional love.  We do so, because we know that God loves us, that God’s love is at the core of who we are, and that we have chosen to follow the Way of Jesus, a way which is all about love.

 

This is what I’m thinking about in this Easter season, as I reflect on the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  The thoughts are still being woven together, but I hope that they will spark something for you as you journey through the 50 days of Easter.

April 24, 2019                          ©Susan Lukey 2019

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