HAVE YOU EVER been in love? It’s a wonderful thing. You share with each other, respect each other, protect each other, and fulfill as many of the I Corinthians 13 attributes as possible. It’s not hard to love someone who treats you that way and responds positively to your love. Most Christians have developed such relationships with spouses, children, and special friends. We all desire to be loved. You cannot be a healthy individual until you know that you are loved.
But what if people you love don’t respond in that manner? What if they ignore you and refuse to spend time with you? What if they actually talk against you and act in ways that are totally opposite of your expectations? Would you still love them? Most of us would agree that we would be tempted to forget them and move on to others who showed more response to our expressions of love.
What if we knew that, despite our efforts, they would never love us? It takes a strong will to maintain that love for them. In fact, unless they are family members, we probably wouldn’t pursue the relationship.
Christ died for us, knowing that some of us would never return his love. He knew some would scoff at his sacrifice and ignore his pleas for reconciliation. He loved us anyway. He took the initiative in dying for us before he knew how we would respond. This amazing, sacrificial, and overwhelming love moves us to desire a personal relationship with him. He receives us not as his equals but as his children. He loves us as a parent, gently nudging us toward the right path, correcting us when we stray, and rejoicing when we respond to his love.
Don’t forget ityou are loved.
Father, may we comprehend the height, depth, and width of your extreme love for us.
-Thomas W. Bates, Senior Pastor, Bayside Community Church, Safety Harbor, Florida