Even though people were told from the time they were little kids that God loves them, they still don’t believe it. As you get older and older, believing that God loves you gets harder and harder. The older you get, the more you start to think that God only loves you when you do well. After all, you only get A’s when you get most of the questions right. You only get privileges at home if you don’t mess up. When you look at how the world works, it’s easy to think that’s how God works, too.
But God doesn’t work the way the world does. God doesn’t want to help you because everything is right, because you look so good, or because you’re so smart. If that was why God helped people, what would happen to all those people who messed up, who didn’t look so good, or who weren’t very smart? If you have to be perfect in order to be loved by God, then the one and only person in the history of forever to be loved by God would be Jesus because he’s the only one who’s been perfect.
God’s love for you is not based on you; God’s love for you is based on God. God decides to love you, to call you his child, and to consider you special and give you a unique purpose in the world.
God is in charge of his love, not you. Because God is in charge of his love, he’s in control of his love. Because God is in control of his love, his love isn’t something you can lose. God will always love you.
You do not, however, have a free ticket for God’s love. Yes, God gave you that ticket and, no, you can’t do anything to earn that ticket. The ticket may not have cost anything to you, but God paid a very high price for that ticket to his love. The price God paid was the death of his Son, Jesus, the only truly perfect person who will ever live. But God was willing to pay that price. Jesus was willing to pay that price. Why? Because God loves you and Jesus was willing to go to the cross and pay the price.
For some people, knowing there’s nothing they can do to earn God’s love makes them feel worse. These people are so used to earning approval, awards, or love from others that they don’t believe it when God says he loves them without all that. These people still try to be perfect, to do everything right, so that God will love them. When they can’t do everything right, they think God doesn’t love them. These people spend a lot of time, a lot of their lives, thinking God doesn’t love them.
What a waste of time! God does love you. You don’t have to earn his love; Jesus already did that for you.
- Instead of crouching down in a corner of your life, hiding out and hoping God doesn’t notice you, why not come out into the open of God’s love?
- Instead of trying to be perfect, trying to earn God’s love and failing, why don’t you stop trying so hard and believe that God already loves you?
- Instead of paying little or no attention to the ways God shows his love for you, why don’t you thank God and show him gratitude for his love?
- Instead of taking up all your time and energy running away from God’s love, why don’t you turn around and embrace God’s love as a truth in your life?
- Instead of taking God’s love for granted so that you don’t have to change, why don’t you use God’s love to motivate you to become a better person?
Does God love you? Yes. He also wants you to become a better person, to become the person he created you to be. God has plans for you, big plans, wonderful plans. All God needs to accomplish his plans for you is your cooperation.
For parents, what we’re really talking about here is unconditional love. It’s not surprising really, that unconditional love is a tough concept to grasp; unconditional love is very difficult to find. As parents, hard as we might try, we are still unable to pull off unconditional love with our kids. Sure, I love my kids all the time, but
- I’m conditional in how I express that love.
- Sometimes I love myself more than them.
- Sometimes I withhold that love for all the wrong reasons.
Without my kids, I wouldn’t know myself or God nearly as well as I do. Having kids has compelled me to more introspection, more examination, more growth, more prayer than I would have done without them. All I can do, being an imperfect parent, is to take the lessons I learn along the way and put them to immediate use.
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 36 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.