In our birthing community our heart is to beat the drum of God’s grace and love for us. It’s so easy for us to ‘think’ we get it or ‘believe’ we know the depths of God’s grace for us, but there are so many competing factors in our society that can mute out the sweetness of his love.
LOVE ≠ PERFORMANCE
In our American society, we are reared from birth to live out of and react to a performance-driven, obey and you’ll be rewarded type of environment. From how our mother or father raised us, to our school system, to our present work scenarios, we are wired to really struggle with being loved simply because of who we are, and not because of what we do.
This is why we struggle with fully grasping God’s ridiculous love for us, and why the actions of our faith life spring out of a religious, “I need to do good in order to be loved” mindset.
At A Seattle Church, our whole prayer is that we understand how loved we are. That we simply learn how to “Be Loved.” All of life flows out of this. Our relationship with our spouses, children, co-workers, community members, bosses, etc, comes out of being loved which allows us to live loved.
LOVE IS RADICAL
One of the most amazing pictures that we are given from Jesus to help us understand this crazy love is from the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15.
If you don’t know the story, a son had asked for his inheritance early from his wealthy father. He took his inheritance and utterly blew it all on reckless and sinful living. The son decides to hang his head in shame, come home and receive the “I told you so” speech from his father.
What Jesus gives us next is a picture of our Father and the love that is stored up in his heart for us...all of us.
The Father sees his son across the field, heading to the house, and instead of waiting for him to continue the ‘walk of shame’, come up the porch and face Dad, the Father bolts down the porch, runs across the field and utterly pounces on his son. “My son!” he says. You are home. The Father doesn’t attempt to get his son to grovel or admit his terrible ways, but aggressively showers him with hugs and kisses.
What is so fascinating about this picture of the love that our Father has for us, is that we don’t see the son repent. The Father doesn’t say ‘if you repent, if you grovel, I’ll receive you back in.’ The Father isn’t waiting for repentance, he just showers him with love. In fact he doesn’t even wait for the confession to finish, he just says, “Servants, bring a robe, get a ring and put it on his finger, and kill the fatted calf cause we’re about to party. My son was dead and now he’s alive again.”
We receive true love from our God of grace. He doesn’t say ‘repent and then come to the Father’s arms’ he says I give you the Father’s arms and that enables repentance!
It’s why Paul said that it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).
He says’ to come in close because I’ve got you. “I’m not going to leave you. I don’t need to lie to you about my love for you. You don’t need to perform for it. It’s there. Forever.”
He fills that ache. He fills our longing.