One of the most beautiful things the Bible says is that
while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (see Rom. 5:8). He did
not wait for us to deserve His love. He loves us unconditionally. To be
honest, that’s hard for many of us to comprehend because we are so
accustomed to having to earn everything in life.
Because of His great, wonderful and intense love for us, God poured His life out for us freely (see Eph. 2:4). That is revolutionary love! Real, revolutionary love must give itself because it can never be satisfied doing anything less.
Just as it is God’s unconditional love that draws us to
Him, so it is our unconditional love toward others in His name that
draws others to Him. He wants us to love people the same way He would
if He were here in bodily form.
It’s impossible for human love to be unconditional, like
God’s love. But as believers in Jesus Christ we have the love of God in
us. We can let that love flow freely, without conditions. Our love
fails, but God’s does not. Our love comes to an end, but God’s does not.
Sometimes I find that although I can’t love a person in
my own strength I am able to with God’s love. I was hurt repeatedly for
years by someone. Recently, this person asked me how I felt—if I loved
them. I was honestly able to say that although I didn’t have the fond
feelings for them I could have had if things had been different, I did
love them as a child of God and would help them in their need.
The true love of God doesn’t depend on feelings—it’s
based on decision. I will help those who need help, unless helping them
would ultimately hurt them. They don’t have to deserve help. In fact,
sometimes the less they deserve it the more beautiful the act of
extending love is. It is absolutely freeing to be able to love people
without stopping to ask if they deserve it.
Human love depends on feelings. We love people because
they have been good to us or they loved us first. They make us feel
good about ourselves, or they make our life easier, so we say we love
them. Or we love them because we want them to love us.
But that type of love is based on what they do, and if
they stop doing it, we will probably stop loving them. That kind of
love comes and goes. Many marriages and other personal relationships
are based on that kind of love. We love ice cream because it tastes
good, and we love people because they give us nice Christmas gifts.
God’s love is totally different. It isn’t based on
anything except God Himself. And when we receive Christ as our Savior
the love of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (see Rom.
When we become partners with God, He
expects us to be His representatives and equips us with the love we
need to do the job He asks us to do. When human love ends, which is
often, God’s love is still available to finish what needs to be done.
I heard about a teenager who was drinking and caused an
accident that killed a man’s wife and child. The man knew God wanted
him to forgive the young man who caused the accident, and through much
prayer he was able to let the love of God flow through him. That man
was a love revolutionary!
We should learn also to look at what people have done to
themselves instead of looking just at what they have done to us.
Usually, when a person hurts someone else, he probably has hurt himself
at least as much and is suffering some fallout as a result. That’s why
Jesus said, “‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do’”
(Luke 23:34, NKJV).
The love of God can’t be grasped with the mind—it is a
matter of the heart. There is no reason for Him to love us while we are
sinning, but He does. God’s love is unconditional.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times
best-selling author and one of the world’s leading practical Bible
teachers. She has written more than 80 books, including the popular Beauty for Ashes and Battlefield of the Mind, and her most recent, The Love Revolution (Hachette). She is also the founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. and the host of Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. To read past columns in Charisma by Joyce Meyer, log on at charismamag.com/meyer.