Wednesday's post sparked a couple of great questions from old friends about the nature of God's love, and what motivation we have for pursuing some kind of relationship with God absent the whole eternal damnation thing, so I thought I'd carry the conversation over here.
I read this verse that I’d read a million times, and I came to a pretty drastic conclusion.
God doesn’t love us.
I do feel the assurance, when Jill and I talk about the plans for our family that sound so insane most normal people would probably think we were joking if we told them about, yet in each other, we know where we're going, and we know we'll be walking through it together.
I had built up this unrealistic expectation of what it was like to “feel loved by God” and in doing so, had put up artificial boundaries between myself and those God was using to show me what love was, and subsequently, what God was, since God, after all, is love.
Now, I’m not discounting those experiences that people have when they feel loved by God, I think that they’re very real, and once I got past my own hang-ups as to what that’s supposed to look like, I even started to “feel” it myself, albeit in a totally new way.
How this ties back to the evangelism discussion is this: Salvation/relationship/connection with God tends to be put in terms of economics or law, it’s a contract. We do X and God saves us from eternal barbecue. This kind of thinking leaves us with an understandably transactional, tit-for-tat view of our relationship with God.
But I believe that God is Love and that Christ was the ultimate, selfless expression of that love, and that every experience of authentic love and goodness and kindness and grace and joy that I have is another instance of that perfect love pursuing me.
So for me, the question isn't why would I or what's my motivation to pursue God, but rather, if God is love, why would I not?