Wednesday, February 10, 2016

unconditional love versus acceptance

Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.

The Community Fellowship’s theme for 2016 is RETURN.  It is a combination of invitation for people to come to know God who made them and loves them AND an invitation for those who know Him to come back.

Our current series is LOVE DOES which examines the different aspects of love through the Bible and how God deeply loves us.  There are so many ways that the love of God is tainted by human thinking and action.

Recently in a daily devotion I receive one of my favorite authors shared something that reminded me about the intersection of RETURN and LOVE DOES.  This is good stuff.

It comes from Henri Nouwen’s Daily Meditation:

We often confuse unconditional love with unconditional approval.  God loves us without conditions but does not approve of every human behavior.  God doesn't approve of betrayal, violence, hatred, suspicion, and all other expressions of evil, because they all contradict the love God wants to instill in the human heart.  Evil is the absence of God's love.  Evil does not belong to God.

God's unconditional love means that God continues to love us even when we say or think evil things.  God continues to wait for us as a loving parent waits for the return of a lost child.  It is important for us to hold on to the truth that God never gives up loving us even when God is saddened by what we do. That truth will help us to return to God's ever-present love.

“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.

Power truth!  The prodigal son is an excellent example.  Sin is not something God can allow in His presence nor something He can overlook, yet the gift of God’s love in the person of Jesus gives us salvation.  And the salvation from God covers, forgives and even removes our sin.

Be careful not to normalize or even overlook sin.  Deal with your shortcomings and return to God because He loves you and desires you and I to know Him more.

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