Do You Believe That God Loves You Unconditionally?

Written by Karen Schenk

soulcravingsunconditionalWhat would it mean for me if I were convinced that God loves me unconditionally? When I hear that someone loves me unconditionally, it makes me ask some hard questions about what that really means.  “Unconditional” really does mean totally and completely without any conditions.  As humans this is nearly impossible for us to love that way.  God’s love for me completely transcends who I am and what I do.

I am incredibly safe in truly unconditional love.   God knows me better than I know myself, I don’t have to hide anything from him.  He knows me and he loves me.  It empowers me and gives me strength.  This kind of love alters how I love others.  Being around something real and authentic makes me want to be more like that.

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46 Responses to “Do You Believe That God Loves You Unconditionally?”

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Roy, I agree with what John MacArthur said but I would add to it slightly. I would say, the Holy Spirit revealed scriptures are all sufficient. I say that because I know of a lot of people who have spent a great deal of time studying the Bible but their study was academic and they never met God there. But when someone approaches the Bible with an attitude of dependence on the Holy Spirit to reveal God through those words, suddenly the experience becomes completely different. It requires the same intentionality as the acts of love that I wrote about in my previous note: ask God that His Spirit open your eyes to what He wants you to learn from His revealed Word and when He shows you something of the character of God respond with thankfulness and praise. So when you read something like Psalm 19 and realize that it is God’s character to reveal Himself to us, thank Him for that and look for ways that He shows you Himself through the things that He has created. When you read Jesus’ commissioning of us as His followers in Matthew 28:19-20 you realize that He has promised to be with us always and you can look for evidence of His presence with you now. If you just read those like you would any other book you could be excused for thinking that those words were either just part of a storyline plot or at best, spoken to someone else. But when you read those words with the help of the Holy Spirit, He speaks those words to you directly! It is not just words on a page! He wants you to know that Jesus is with you right now and is calling you to be His representative to the world around you, proclaiming His words to people who so desperately need them.

    I think it is cool that you are already focused on loving people. For someone who has gone through so much you have every excuse to be bitter and cold against everyone. But God has obviously been working in your heart and reflecting His character in you to love. Granted, there are still some selfish aspects of that love that you have but I am confident that as you focus on intentionally asking God to love people through you that He will refine that love to become more and more pure, thus being more and more effective. You may just be closer than you think already Roy! :)

  • Roy says:

    Jamie,
    I don’t know if I would use the word “expectations”, but my hope and my prayer has been and continues to be that He will change my heart. I want to Love Him and worship Him and Trust him, instead of just going through the motions, but I have never met him. I don’t know how to force my heart to love someone I’ve never met.I want to have the relationship that eliminates my need for approval from people. I keep hearing that this relationship is the foundation of christian life. A relationship requires intimacy from both directions. I’m not really questioning whether or not God loves me, I’m trying to discover how it matters if he loves me or not if I can’t be with him in some way that is real. During a broadcast teaching ministry earlier today John MacArthur taught that the scriptures were all-sufficient. Maybe I just need to make a concentrated effort immerse myself in them. Maybe if I try harder to do that and persevere through the frustration and initial dryness the words will become “vibrant and alive” for me, and more importantly, for me at least, more personal. As far as your suggestion about loving people, I like it.
    I try pretty hard to do that already but I have never been so intentional about it as you suggest. I’ve had to be or become so many people throughout my life it’s hard to say who or what I really am. However, I do feel very strongly that loving people is a big part of who I really am. In the past ten years or so I have come to the point that I am compelled, when standing in a line at the store or something similar, to turn to the person standing next to me and speak to them just to say hi, how are you today? It seems wrong to me to stand inches from another human being and not even acknowledge there existence.When I am at a restaurant and a waiter or waitress comes to the table I feel just a little guilty if I don’t ask them there name.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    I can imagine that kind of ‘programming’ would have a long-lasting impact on the way you look at life and relationships. Has part of your expectations of Jesus been that He would ‘reprogram’ you to know that you do have worth?

    You know, one of the worst times of depression for me was turned around by God when He showed me the needs of other people and empowered me to show His love to them. It’s like what John said in his first letter, “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” (1John 4:7) What I discovered was that the love that I was showing to others was not a love that I was able to generate but was God’s love for me being reflected to others. Just a few verses later John wrote, “We love each other as a result of his loving us first.” (vs 19)

    You say that you have never experienced God’s love–or at least not to the extent that you would like to. Perhaps, if you ask God to love other people through you and saw the evidence of that it would help you to recognize His love for you. Here’s what I am thinking: make the focus of everyday a search for people who need love. Ask God throughout your day to show you who needs love and to show you how He wants you to love them. Trust–I know that is a loaded word but stay with me–that the people who are in front of you are the people who God wants you to show love to. That was one of the things I loved about Mother Theresa’s testimony: she said she was called by God to love the one person in front of her and as she was obedient God just kept bringing more and more people in front of her. But ask for God’s help to know how to love that one person and then in obedience and faith do it. And as you see God’s love expressed to other people thank Him for doing that. I am willing to bet that this would be a powerful way to get ‘reprogrammed’.

  • Roy says:

    Jamie,
    you asked if I found myself loving and caring for other people while I was there. Although I am compassionate and hate to see other people suffer, my actions, my motivation and my whole life seems to revolve around my own need. It’s probably been that way for most of my life. If I am loving it is largely because I am trying to get them to like me more. I think it’s the same with me and God. I go to church out of need. I read my bible and pray in order to coerce God into showing His love to me personally in a way that is real to me. In the end the hole controls every thing. Is it possible to have a hole in my soul that is bigger than God?

  • Roy says:

    Jamie,
    It was a really long time ago but the things I remember doing are; taking over the Royal Ranger boys program, Vacuuming the sanctuary every Saturday,mowing the grass when the regular guy couldn’t make it, and doing some sheet rock repair work. The assistant pastor and his wife became close friends and we spent some time hanging out with them. I still struggled with depression but not as frequently. I am glad to have finally discovered an antidepressant that helps me. I wish there was a stronger one I could use but they all have scary side effects. I don’t know if you have any experience with being thoroughly programmed to believe that you are worthless. I hope not. But when you are and people treat you like your not worthless your mind tells you ” enjoy it while you can before they find out, ’cause there going to find out. You never really believe. Even after being married for 15 years now when my wife stops expressing the little bit of affection and affirmation she is capable of, which is frequently, I very quickly become very insecure.I learned a long time ago that when people stop acting like they love you it’s because they never really did.So you can see how trying to perpetuate a relationship that requires faith is, for me, virtually impossible. I continue to pray for God to fix me though. I go through cycles. I hear something or read something that gives me hope and I become excited and motivated and hopeful that God will somehow touch me and something real and personal will pass between him and I and the bottomless pit will be filled and I will be filled with joy and peace and certainty that he knows me and not just loves me but likes me too. I start praying regularly and reading scripture. Eventually, though, I become discouraged and depressed and give up. I find comfort in things of the world because they are all I can find.Consequently, I’m in debt up to my eyeballs, I don’t have consistent faith to show my family. what faith I once had has dwindled. I want to love and worship God but I don’t know how to change my own heart.I go through the motions for as long as I can but duty and obligation only last so long with out some kind of connection. The thing that convinced me to try again this time was a web page discussing the prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesians in chapter three. That by the Holy Spirit’s power they would know what is beyond knowledge; the length and width an height of the love of Jesus. He said that prayer for people who were already believers. If you say a prayer for me that would be the one.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    “The real miracle that happens in A spirit filled church is not healing or speaking in tongues or prophesying, it’s people loving each other.” That is a profound statement Roy! I agree wholeheartedly. That is cool that you got to be a part of a community like that. Did you find yourself touched by that same miracle? Did you find yourself loving and practically caring for other people while you were there?

  • Roy says:

    Hi again Jamie,
    As long as my previous entry was, there’s more unfortunately. I am not going to relate any more of it though because other people could be hurt by it and it’s just to ugly. As far as my sense of self worth goes, of course, I will probably always struggle with that. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Radio” with Cuba Gooding Jr. That is what I thought I was until I was 12 years old or so. The memory of it actually surfaced while I was watching the movie my self. There have just been too many times that I gave all that I had and then more and still just wasn’t quite good enough, or strong enough, or fast enough or cool enough.
    The technical term for my “condition” is dependency, and I’m well aware of it. A good part of the motivation for my treatment of my wife and kids, (goats?),is selfish,I need them to love me. Unfortunately, teenagers are completely self absorbed. Both of the older ones are on the far side of it
    about to become adults and the youngest is just starting to get prickly.
    As needy as I am, I’m still a dad and I would take all of the misery that life will throw at them onto myself if I only could.
    It’s true that I have made incredible progress towards not being controlled by these things, I think I am the only one of my biological family who has. A friend who knew my story once told me “Roy,your’e the sanest crazy person I ever met”. The truth is, I had to get beyond my anger and my hate, as I said in my previous entry I came very close to destruction on several occasions. I’ve been hit by a car, (bodily),twice. The second time on the shoulder of the Interstate by a car going at least 50 miles an hour, probably faster, considering the car was driven by a drunk teenager. A bullet hit my hair,( I had a lot of hair then), it came less than an inch from my face. I was surprised by the “fluttering sound that it made.By the way I still have thick hair,(vanity), just not as thick or as long, for now. When I picture me in my mind I have long hair. In the end, in spite of my rage and despair,I am a sensitive, empathetic person and I realized, or was made aware, that people become bitter and angry and do horrible things because some one did horrible things to them.
    Again, I have been in churches most of my life. I guess the first time I got involved with a church, apart from being taken/forced to go as a child, was the charismatic church my foster parents took me to. In twenty years of being part of that church I never experienced any of the things the other people seemed to experience. I have since come to the conclusion that a lot of their beliefs are unfounded. The best experience I have had was at a church in Louisville Kentucky. I had just smoked some pot with a friend who I worked with when his wife and mother in law came in and asked me if I wanted to go with them to a church they had recently heard about.For whatever reason I said yes,( probably the Holy spirit), That night for the third time in my life I responded to an altar call. For approximately a year that pastor treated me like a son and the small congregation like I was one of them. I have never experienced anything like that before or since. The real miracle that happens in A spirit filled church is not healing or speaking in tongues or prophesying, it’s people loving each other. I got very sick, (pneumonia), and couldn’t work for a week and lost my job. I tried to find another job but had no success. I had very recently married my second wife and so we moved back to Tennessee while we still had enough money to do so. This was almost as bad as when my friend moved away.
    I’m still not very sure where I stand with God. The good news I responded to was probably not the same as your good news. What I heard about was “abundant life”, Love, joy, and peace. I guess, to me, salvation was just a technicality I had to get out of the way in order to have those things.I have never felt very much guilt, Some,but not much. To this day I pray for a contrite heart. My heart seems to tell me “after what I’ve been through, I did the best I could with what I had to survive and remain none institutionalized. The idea that I was born deserving to be burned alive for all eternity, while I understand it , is so extreme that I can’t comprehend it enough to “internalize” it.
    My problem is emotional, I think.I know you can’t live your life or base your relationship with God on emotions but you also can’t continue in a relationship for very long with out them. They are not the most important thing, but, still important.
    1:00 a.m. must sleep, bye for now.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Oh, by the way, I actually really appreciate the time you have taken to share so much personal stuff. I am sure that isn’t easy but I find it really interesting. You are really quite a unique guy and I am grateful to get to know you like this even if I am on the other side of the continent.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Wow Roy, you have been let down by a lot of people who should have been the ones who loved and cared for you. That must have really messed with your sense of self-worth. And yet you so obviously care for your children and are showing the love and care that you did not get. That says a lot for your ability to evaluate your life and make positive choices. How has that happened for you?

    I also am curious to know at what point the Good News about Jesus made sense to you enough that you decided to become a follower of Jesus. Was that in the foster home? Or did that happen later in life?

  • Roy says:

    Hi Jamie,
    Thanks again for your input. Please forgive me for starting out by using questions to answer your questions. Wouldn’t you expect an encounter with the Person of the God of all creation to produce some kind of response from you? I experienced, (not just read about), 45 years of rejections, abuse, abandonment, failure, despair, clinical depression, and nearly being killed on six different occasions, and then I met someone who told me I could have love shed abroad in my heart, and instead of emptiness I could be filled with God’s spirit and love and peace and joy. That is why I have been in church and small groups, and listened to teaching on Christian radio for much of my adult life. I still hold out hope of experiencing these things.I long for the experience of being chosen and valued and appreciated. I am still empty and afraid. I am terrified of what will happen to my children when I can’t protect them anymore. The prospect of them being hurt like I have makes me feel horribly selfish and wish I never brought them into this world. I know the bible says that this life is only a vapor but you know as well as I do that we don’t experience it that way from this side of eternity. I have experienced pain that made five minutes seem like eternity. But I know God is a spirit, I know I can’t hear him, personally, say those things to me, personally. But if that’s true how can you have anything that resembles an intimate relationship? I have not experienced the bible as a love letter, but as a form letter which, technically speaking, if it is going to be considered a letter of any kind, that’s what it is. It’s not addressed to anyone specifically and words like “whosoever” are one word definitions for impersonal. No words have jumped off the pages. Vibrant and alive? I can’t imagine what that means. Either those are delusions that you created for yourself or you have experienced something that I have not, (I suspect the latter). I guess when I say experience I mean the opposite of “take it on faith”. How can you love someone you never met so much that by comparison you “hate” your own children? I believe there is more historical evidence for the life death and resurrection of Jesus than most of figures of ancient history that we easily accept without question. This still does not constitute a close, personal or intimate relationship. He knows my every thought, knows the number of hairs on my head, and knows what I’m going to say before I say it. But, I can only read about Him and how He interacted with other people long ago. This isn’t anything new or odd; I believe it is the number one problem for most people; they just don’t want anyone to know it. My pastor complains in the pulpit that twenty percent of the congregation is doing eighty percent of the work of the church, and I believe that is because most of them have the same problem, they are still empty. What about the prayer that Paul Prayed for the Ephesians, to know by the power of the Holy Spirit the length and width and breadth of the love of Jesus. Would that prayer be in our bible if it were not a prayer we could expect to be answered? And if it were answered would you not expect it to impact you profoundly?
    As for my past, here goes. You might want to fasten your seat belt. My mom took us to church every Sunday and I remember her doing flannel graph presentations in vacation Bible school. On the other hand, she was a brutal, physically abusive “rageaholic” frequently. My dad was disliked by everyone who got to know him, he was petty and hateful, physically abused my mom on several occasions, and impossible to please. His pet name for me was imbecile. It took most of my life for me to finally understand that they too were damaged by people who also had been damaged and so on. Blame is pretty meaningless but the scars and the black hole of rejection and need exist none the less. In 1974 my best friend who grew up together with me and lived across the street, moved away to Ohio and I never saw him again. He was the guy that was good at everything; he was better at football and basketball than any of the other of the boys in our neighbor hood and could out run us all. Everybody always wanted to be on his team and I was always one of the first ones he picked. I took it very badly. Today he is Father Tim and works with children in his catholic church. To this day, I have ever met a finer human being or had a friend like him. A few months later I was camping out with a couple of my new friends in a field that was right across from one end of Busch Gardens in Tampa, (about 4 blocks from my house). We did that frequently and rode our bikes all over North Tampa and smoked cigarettes and smoked pot, (not nearly as much as we wished). I was the youngest at approximately 13 years old while the other guys were older High school guys . That night at 3 a.m. or so my two friends had an argument and a little bit of a fight and both took their tents and went home. I too went home and, unknown to me for many years, walked right past my dad who was hanging from the tree in our side yard. A neighbor, who I found out later was a deranged, paranoid ex Vietnam vet, had told my dad that my 16 year old sister was pregnant by her boy friend,( one of many guys she was sexually active with at that time), and that my mom was also having an affair with the same 17 year old guy. Three months later my mom left me and my 7 year old little sister at home with our grandmother and went to East Tennessee and they got married. It was the closest state where they could because he was a minor. He was one of the older guys that my friend and I would get dope and booze from and now he was my step dad. It went very badly for everyone and for my part I ended up on the street at 16 sleeping in a baseball dugout and shoplifting food. I got caught stealing food and got arrested and ended up in several foster homes and in the last one was introduced to a charismatic church and what were the very beginnings of contemporary Christian music. Unfortunately I also ended up getting too attached to them and got hurt really badly again. . I still live in east Tennessee, although I have moved away and back several times. I think this must be the best place a Roy could live. It is also my ancestral home. My great, great grandmother, though mixed, was on the Daws and the Syler roles of the Cherokee nation and escaped the trail of Tears by hiding in the mountains in NC. I am married for the third, (and final), time. I overcame my last substance addiction, (cigarettes), about two years ago. It was the only one I still struggled with since we got married 15 years ago. My wife has also been married twice before and we have three children, (kids are goats), Hers, Brandon who will be 18 on Dec. 21, mine, Amy who we went through a horrible custody battle for and is now 18, already graduated from school and in beauty school, and ours, Chase, who is 11 and being home schooled by me. Our children are amazing for the most part and I am proud of them and love them fiercely. My wife is from a small town here in Tennessee she has a wonderful relationship with her dad and grandparents while we remain grateful that all of my relations live out of state. There is no question in my mind of the goodness and trustworthiness of my wife she has child like faith that I envy but is predominantly emotionally unavailable. That has been very painful for me, being a person who probably longs for at least a little more affection and affirmation than average and she comes in at the far other end of the spectrum. I spent most of my working life as a sheet rock or carpet subcontractor but am now unemployed and home schooling Chase while looking for part time work. I have a degree in computer and electronics engineering which I went nearly 30,000 dollars in debt to obtain and has helped me none at all.
    Whew! I hope you sit down with a nice cup of coffee or cocoa to read this. I’m sorry if it’s too much, I wasn’t sure what to leave out or in and I wanted to make sure you got the whole picture.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Roy, what do you mean by “experienced”? Is there an emotion you anticipate will erupt in you or are you looking for something else that will let you know you have experienced an encounter with God?

    Maybe you can share how you first discovered Jesus and how your journey with Him has happened. Did you grow up in a Christian family or did you find out about Jesus later in life? You said you have been damaged; are you comfortable in sharing here how you have been hurt?

  • Roy says:

    Hi Jamie,
    Thanks for taking the time to respond.I know your heart is to help.
    However, I haven’t experienced any of the things you spoke of. Believing something is true and actually experiencing it aren’t even close to the same thing. All of the things you speak of are spiritual and consequently unseen and have to be taken on faith.I don’t have enough faith to receive enough.
    I know there is something wrong with me, I,m damaged in ways that make trusting anyone so hard that it’s beyond me how I can do so at all much less for someone I’ve never met,(God/Jesus). If believing is as close as I can get I can’t understand how that could ever be close enough to enable me to love him more than my children as the Apostle Paul says. I am desperate for some one to love me in ways that are real to me.
    I intend to “begin again” to trust God and to pray and read my Bible and try to fight against the habitual sins that I fall into when I get discouraged and confess them when I fail.Is there anything else I can I do?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Roy,
    Roy the words in the Bible have been spoken to you. You remember that Paul told Timothy, “All scripture is God-breathed…” (2Timothy 3:16) He used those words intentionally because they remind us of how God brought life to Adam in Genesis 2:7 “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” It was the breath of God that brought life to humanity and He breathes life into the words of scripture so that they become alive, vibrant and relevant to each one of us. Not only that but as Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit helps us understand the words that God speaks to us, “the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26) So the words that God has spoken in the Bible are for you specifically and His Spirit teaches you how they apply to your life. He is available to you 24/7. The things He has promised in His word are yours right now. Your luxury hotel is not in Bangkok; it is at your fingertips right now.
    Do you believe that Jesus loved you enough to die to pay the penalty for your sin so that you can have a relationship with God the Father? That is what He has promised, that is what He has done and that is what He has offered you. If you believe it then you are experiencing it right now. Your sins are forgiven and God has clothed you in His own righteousness. That means when God looks at you right now He sees someone who is pure and without sin. That is something amazing, don’t you think?! I know I don’t deserve such an incredible gift. It blows me away every time I think about it! What about you?

  • shelley anderson shelley anderson says:

    I love God! He is so good to me all day long.I love Him so much, more than anyone or thing in this world that i am just passing through to get to the new world that is awaiting for me. He is all powerful and lovely and he is gracious and kind in all areas of my life.
    Lord I lift up any who read this that they maybe encouraged to hear what my Daddy means to me. He never leaves me or forsakes me and He is always there for me in all things that I encounter in my daily walk with Him. Without Him I am nothing, with him i am a somebody! In Jesus Mighty Name Amen

  • Roy says:

    Thank you for listening and responding

  • Roy says:

    I could pray and read my bible all day and night and live in a church, but God is still unavailable.

  • Roy says:

    If I can’t experience it how does it matter if it’s true. If you walked up to a homeless man who was freezing and starving and showed him documentation proving that he was actually the owner of a luxury hotel full of soft warm beds, delicious food, and people who thought highly of him, in Bangkok. You walk away and he is no better off. Actually it would be worse to know that and still be cold and hungry.

  • Roy says:

    Hi Jamie,
    How can I derive any of those things from words on a page? Words that were spoken 2000 years ago to the entire world. Also, I didn’t say it wasn’t true,I would never say Jesus was lying but then Jesus has never said anything to me.What I’m saying is there’s nothing close or personal or intimate about a cold fact, a piece of information on a page regardless how true.
    I’m not unwilling to receive Gods Love I am desperate for it.No one longs for, searches for or comes to God or a church for documentation.A wounded desperate person doesn’t seek to know or be informed that they are loved they desperately long to experience it. True is not enough.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Roy there seems to be something in your life that blocks your reception of God’s love for you. You ask, “Where is love, affirmation, acceptance for me today?” Jesus said, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes on Him will not perish but have eternal life.” Right there is an expression of God’s love, His acceptance, and His affirmation of you. So is Jesus lying here? Either this statement of God’s love is true and is yours to receive or Jesus is telling a lie.

    You say that, “Nature is not beautiful, families aren’t lovely, and life is not a gift when your heart remains broken.” So is it your broken heart that makes you unwilling to receive God’s love? Is God’s love only true if it takes away the hurt from your broken heart?

  • Roy says:

    Help, I can’t continue to give what I don’t ever get.

  • Roy says:

    Hi Jamie,
    I,m not sure,I have yet to understand how it’s even possible to relate to God in any way that even resembles close or personal or intimate. I have been trying and searching and begging for years now for a touch or a word for me personally. Nothing comes. I have read my bible and gone to church and prayed.
    I must have some tiny amount of faith to keep asking and looking.
    Nature is not beautiful, families aren’t lovely, and life is not a gift when your heart remains broken.When a wife is cold and distant no matter how many marriage conferences you attend, no matter how much you beg, because she is shallow. For her depth isn’t worth the effort. So, some counselor
    says No person can meet your need, God must meet your need, but He never does. God’s location is irrelevant,if He’s everywhere He’s still unavailable, if He’s living inside me he’s still unavailable. “How the just shall live”,doesn’t answer the question ” where is Love, affirmation acceptance for me today.I am starving and the Bible and the church and christian radio continue to put a beautiful, full color menu in front of me and serve nothing.

  • Charlotta says:

    Yes, without a doubt! I am loved unconditionally! God has brought me to a better understanding through my children. What they do, say or even behave all comes from what I do! They came to me a perfect slate … I love them unconditionally and see God in them everyday through their innocent eyes … Gods eyes! God loves me! God is the only perfect love. I couldn’t love before I accepted His unfailing love! I needed to love myself before God could show me that perfect love. I can make mistakes … and I am still loved! First love yourself to be open to His love, which in turn allows you to love others … Unconditionally. It is possible if through the understanding that we all create our own pain by not loving yourself … Allowing others to hurt you. Search for Gods love and know your value!! It’s amazing to know His love!

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    So Roy, what would be evidence of God’s love in times of hurt? What would you need to see from God to know that He loves in those times?

  • Sharon Sharon says:

    good article i use to not believe it that God didn’t love me uncontinually but i am learning that he does it is hard sometimes though to really know, i can’t comprehend it but as i said i am learning because people demostrate it to me

  • Roy says:

    How does it matter if God loves me unconditionally if I can never find him when I need him, when I’m hurting. love that has to be taken on faith seems to be no love at all.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Jen, your example of the love of a parent is really quite good because in many ways that is how God loves us. Of course your love for your child is not impacted by what they do. Often when a parent lashes out in anger at their child it is because they love them and are just frustrated at the poor choices that the child has made. God’s love for humanity does not change because we have turned our back on Him and said we don’t want anything to do with Him. In fact the Bible tells us that God loved us so much that even while we were trapped in our rebellion against Him He sent His Son Jesus to die in our place. The problem is not that God doesn’t love humanity but that humanity does not want to be in relationship with God. It is God’s love that keeps Him from forcing Himself on humanity. But at the same time He informs us what life is like without Him. Every good thing you have in your life comes from God so life without God means all of those good things disappear. Here on Earth humanity is not totally separated from God but in Hell all of God’s goodness is gone. Here on Earth humanity is given a choice: God or no God. If a person chooses ‘no God’ then they receive that in Hell.

    The confusing part of all this is that people want the good things from God but they want them on their own terms. It’s like a child who says, “Mom & Dad, I want to live at home so that I can get fed, have my laundry done, etc., but I don’t want to follow the rules of your home. I will have no respect for your property, I will not participate in taking care of the home, and I will demand what I want from you no matter how destructive it is to me or other around me.” That is an arrangement that just is untenable. In the same way, if I say, “God I want to have a relationship with You on my own terms no matter how destructive it might be to me and others” it is not a healthy relationship. The Bible says, “There is a path that seems right in a person’s eyes but the end of it leads to destruction.” God has created us for a certain path and when we go in another direction we are saying, “God You don’t know what you are talking about. I know better. I don’t need You.” If we choose not to follow God we remove ourselves from His goodness.

    Jesus said, “I am the Way the Truth and the Life. No one comes to God except through Me.” What He means by that is that in order to be set free from our rebellion against God we need God. We can try any other path we want to try and be set free but nothing else will work. There are some people who follow different religions that are based on humans following rules or rituals to try and appease God. All those fail because they are human efforts trying to slave a problem that only God can solve. Ultimately they are saying, “God I can take care of my own rebellion against You. I don’t need You.” But if God has said that Jesus is the only Way than any other effort that we make is just more rebellion against God. It is like trying to wash our dirty face with a dirty rag: the more we scrub the dirtier we get.

    Christianity is unique because Jesus alone said that the only hope for humanity is God. Jesus was not just a man but He was God. What amazing love that He would humble Himself to become one of us in order to save us. He came and sacrificed Himself in order to pay the penalty for our rebellion. He took our punishment and in exchange gave us His perfection. A follower of Jesus is someone who says, “I trust in Your sacrifice to pay the penalty for my rebellion. Help me now to live life in Your path rather than my own.” There is nothing that a person can do that qualifies them to receive that gift from Jesus nor is there anything that a person can do that will disqualify them from receiving that gift. But if someone says, “I think I know a better way. I am going to follow the teaching of Buddha, Confucius, John Smith, Mohammed, or my own ideas of spirituality. Thanks, but I think my way is better than Yours” they are rebelling against God and following a path to destruction.

    But God doesn’t stop loving that person. He will continue to pursue and call out to that person in order to help them realize that only His path is the right one. God is pursuing you right now, trying to help you to recognize the destructiveness of your path and invite you to come and receive the gift of His sacrifice in your place. It is because of His unconditional love that He does not give up on you.

    Does that make sense Jen?

  • Jen says:

    I have often pondered this question and still come out of it confused. If we are loved unconditionally, then why does scripture tell us the only way to the Father is through the Son and that you must believe Jesus is your personal saviour and died for yours (and the world’s) sins? If you don’t, then you will not be saved. This certainly sounds like a big condition to me. How, in my earthly lowliness, can I love my children unconditionally but God can’t? I would love my children if they didn’t believe in me. If they committed murder I would still love them. There is no single behaviour they could engage in that would deny them my love. Here’s something else: my friend Mahedeh is a Muslim. She’s the most gentle, kindest soul I’ve ever met. A very, very good person and I’ve only met one or two like her in my entire life. Because of her beliefs however, she will not be saved. Wow. If that’s not a condition, I don’t know what is. She can’t help her beliefs. She was brought up differently and her religion was as big a part of her as a Christian’s. So, why is God’s love exclusionary? Sort of like, well “you’re not what we’re looking for luv, so off to the pit of fire you go.” Sorry to be facetious but it has never made sense to me that good people who don’t necessarily believe in Christianity will be excluded from the ‘saved’ list. And geography has a lot to do with it. If you are from certain parts of the world, chances are that you were born into a certain religion or set of beliefs. So, if you can’t help where you were born and were raisedd a Hindu or Muslim – you aren’t getting into Heaven because you were born on the wrong continent? None of it makes sense. If His love is unconditional it means no conditions. You’re loved and accepted. What about those who die undecided? If they were still in the process of searching and trying to make sense of God when they were hit head on by a transport truck? Does God say, “Well my son, you were almost there but not quite… so off you go to the pit.” (or wherever agnostics, unsure or questioning people go) I try to live my life without intentionally hurting people and I try to help whoever I can most of the time. I am sorry that that probably isn’t good enough.

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Dear Nareena,

    There is no need for you to apologize. You are simply expressing your thoughts, uncertainties, and beliefs. Without opening up and being honest, how else could you find the answers to the questions you are battling with? This being said, do not feel bad that you offended anyone.

    I used to struggle with the same uncertainty as you are. To me life was confusing and the bible was hard to understand. Once I accepted Christ into my life, everything began to make sense. If you would like to know more about what that means and how you can do it, the following links may be very helpful to you:

    http://powertochange.com/discover/faith/discoverpurpose/

    http://powertochange.com/discover/faith/soulcravings1/

    I would love to pray for you now:

    Father God, I pray that You would open the eyes of Nareena’s heart today and guide her into the truth that she is seeking. She longs to develope a stronger faith and understanding of You and Christ Jesus and I ask that You would begin to reveal Yourself to her in a whole new way. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen

    If you have further questions, feel free to write again! We would love to encourage you in your spiritual journey.

    God bless you!
    Barbara

  • Nareena says:

    Hi Barbara, Thankyou for responding to my question. To be honest I don’t know exactly how to accept God or Jesus. I speak to them that is something that I have always done. So in a sense I guess I have accepted God and Jesus. Accepting him as my saviour though that part most likely not. Sorry to do this folks as I know some people will be upset about what I am about to write however this is what I believe and always have. I believe there is something bigger than God out there, meaning I believe something created God. I have always believed that everything is created from something. which this is much like the question which came first the chicken or the egg. No one knows the answer. I used to believe in so may things from mythology, fairytales etc. as much as people say they are all made up they have to have come from somewhere, somehow. There is also the saying don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Basically what it comes down to is this, how can I place all my faith and trust in God when to me there is nothing there to prove that he is what everyone says he is. I don’t understand the Bible as it is, I find it very confusing. The things that I have picked up over the years since childhood, don’t seem to marry up. I need to know that I am giving myself to the right God, the right source of power. I’m sorry if I have upset people with what I have just wrote. This is the battle I have with myself everyday.

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Dear Nareena, Without a doubt, it sounds like you are searching for a connection with God since you stated “churches fascinate me and draw me in to them”. God loves all of us and that is why He offers us the gift of salvation through faith in His Son Jesus Christ. Have you accepted the Lord into your heart as your personal Savior?

  • Nareena says:

    I would like to know why I have always felt cold and uncomfortable in churches ever since I wad a child still to this very day if god loves me. I have always believed that love is warm an inviting. Churches fascinate me and draw me in to them. Yet when I am there every fibre inside me tells me I should not be there and it’s wrong . Why if God loves me. Shouldn’t I feel loved. Shouldn’t I feel warm and wanted. Even our local priest ignored me unless I wad in the company of others. Why, why is that. Because to me that is not love. That is not respect .

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Well let’s look at what the Bible does say about God’s love:

    “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” (Exodus 34:6-7)

    “The LORD is merciful and gracious; He is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He has not punished us for all our sins, nor does He deal with us as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our rebellious acts as far away from us as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:8-12)

    “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:5-8)

    “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39)

    “But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

    “God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1John 4:8-10)

    God’s love never ends. Even when people reject Him, still His love continues. His heart is broken when people do not want anything to do with Him and ultimately He allows them to be separated from Him for all of eternity but that does not mean that His love has ended. It is their choice to reject Him and in His love He lets them make that choice.

  • SeeChao says:

    Unconditional: Without condition. If you add a condition, no matter whether it is right or wrong, it is no longer unconditional. As I was saying you need to either change the definition of unconditional, or change the definition of love.
    Also, it is ok to correct a child, but not to lock them, forever, in a burning basement. Unless you are arguing from the side of universal salvation… hard to keep track of all the beliefs of the various denominations.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    SeeChao you have a wrong understanding of what unconditional love is. You are suggesting that unconditional love means that you allow the object of your love to pursue any activity or life pattern no matter how destructive that path is to themself or to others. Is it not love to correct a child who runs out into the street? Is it not love to train a child to share with others?

    You see the Bible reveals that God loves humanity even while they are trapped in rebellion against Him. His love pays the ultimate price of sacrificing Himself for us in order to pay the penalty for our sin and rebellion against Him. Yes He disciplines us but it is His love that motivates that discipline, just as a parent’s love is the reason behind their disciplining their child. He knows what is best for us and He leads us toward that. It is our rebellion against His authority in our lives that takes us down destructive paths. And if we refuse to turn from that direction out of our rejection of Him ultimately He will release us to complete separation from Him because that is what we have sought. And what a terrible existence that will be! But He has warned and disciplined and corrected all along and so our end will be our own making, not His.

    I know it is far easier to accuse God of not loving but reality is our accusation and anger is just another way of trying to justify our rebellion against Him. It’s like the teenage son who throws a tantrum because his parents won’t let him go hang out with the kids that have a history of shop lifting and vandalism. “You don’t love me!” Really!!??

  • SeeChao says:

    Which god? If you’re talking the christian version of yhvh, then, if he is real and the bible is his word, then, he does not love unconditionally, since there are clearly defined conditions to his love, unless you completely change the definition of love or conditions, in which case the question is moot, since you may as well ask “does god gloopitty you unglaportily” and have the same answer since you need to define those terms. Since both love and unconditionally are already established english words, with established definitions, and this is an english sentence, I have to assume you are using common english usage of these words, and therefore cannot truthfully say that a god that has ANY rules, and ANY eternal punishment for not following them, does not love you unconditionally, by definition.

  • Andrew Andrew says:

    God defines human love in 1. Corinthians 13:

    1 Corinthians 13
    Love Is the Greatest

    1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

    4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

    8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

    11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[c] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

    13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

    The only difference between us and God is that his love is unconditional and that no matter how often we fail, sin, or fall down he still loves us. This is mind boggling for many people as it is unconditional. God Bless

  • David B Galloway says:

    About 10 years ago in Hong Kong sitting at the end if a bed waiting for my kettle to boil for a cup of tea… I went in to a trance
    Like state and my mind and me were walking through what seemed like a large library and it seem to be dark on both sides
    as I walked down the center pathway which seemed very wide I could see figures or the shapes of figures reading and far in front of me a white light …As I walked a voice in my mind ,no not a voice a living thought said I could ask any question and it would be answered … I asked to see the structure of an atom ..hydrogen I think and there it was vastly beautiful and complex
    It still amazes me though I really cannot recollect much.. Then I was offered anything I wanted .. and in that moment of Grace I refused to accept anything .at that moment I realized with even the greatest gift I could do more harm than good..the white light became very strong and I awoke crying having the total feeling of love ..unconditional and total love..I believe in some way I witnessed a revelation of God …I still talk to God I still occasionally cry and I am still in awe ..Has it changed my life? I don’t think so …but it has convinced me God is real ..God is there and will answer our call and God’s love is total and totally
    Unconditional….simply he will always love us no matter what we do …he does not understand forgiveness because ..he always loves us totally and will always guide us , and help us ..but only if asked..because he gave us the greatest gift of life to choose or not to choose to ask….. This is my revelation may God use it to help all others.

  • mary says:

    idk what to think, maybe he loves us or maybe he doesn’t but what i do know is that ive asked him to let me feel his love but i have never felt his love, sure i can hear that he loves me, but i cant say i believe ive never felt his love

  • Temmy says:

    hmmm…i know that God loves us unconditionally…if not, why would he send His only son to come and die for us. But sometimes I find it hard to accept that He really loves me unconditionally because I have not been faithful to Him many times

  • Sandra says:

    I know that God loves me unconditionally. I do not question that at all. However, I have difficulty receiving that love. I have never been loved unconditionally and I don’t know how it feels. I truly love my children unconditionally so I am able to give that kind of love just not receive it. How do I learn to receive unconditional love?

  • Megan says:

    Jason, check out John 3:16. If God didn’t love you as much as He does, He wouldn’t have given up His own Son for you, for all of us.

  • Jason Bowen says:

    No!

  • Megan says:

    I feel the same way Donna, but we need to believe that God is always there for us, and loves us more than just the servants He’s called us to be. He also calls us His friend. Hosea 2:16-20 is a good passage to check out to remind us of His love. Look at it this way; if God’s love is so uncomprehendable, it just means that it’s out of this world and better than anything anyone will ever experience. :)

  • Donna says:

    I find this concept of unconditional love a little overwhelming and disconcerting. Since uncond. love is not very likely in this life, it is not something I can completely grasp yet. I know in my head that God loves me, I just have a hard time believing it with my heart, for me.
    i do know that a walk with God is an ever growing thing… this I have experienced.And I know that the older I get the more I need Him for understanding and support.

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