How can God’s love be considered unconditional when He expects you to change? If I am loved unconditionally then I shouldn’t have to change. Or should I?
God’s love, while unconditional, is not a permissive love. In our modern day, sin has become a dirty word. The society I live in today believes that anything goes just as long as it’s not ‘hurting’ anyone. God however, is not like that. Often what is seen as okay in society hurts the heart of God. So how can this be unconditional love when it requires us to be different from what society says is okay?
Image you were a creator and you created a diamond. You spent much time and love fashioning this diamond and getting it as beautiful as you possibly could. You watched it sparkle in the light with absolute pride. Then through no fault of your own, this diamond was taken from you. When you found it, it was tarnished. Covered in layers and layers of muck and mire. The layers so thick that it had become deformed, so deformed that you could barely recognise it. Tell me is it still a diamond? Yes. It’s a diamond tarnished by grime not put there by your own hands. Do you stop loving the diamond? No. A true creator wouldn’t stop loving their creation. They would know that if the ‘grime’ was removed the hidden beauty beneath would be recovered. They would however, hate the grime especially what it is doing to the diamond. How it prevents the diamond being what the creator intended. Every time they looked at their creation they would see its deformity and grieve that they couldn’t see the diamonds true hidden beauty. They would long to see that beauty again.
Another example a little more familiar to me: Let’s say you are a parent of a beautiful little girl. You dress her in a white ballerina-style dress, readying her for a party. Leaving her in the lounge room to play, you go ready yourself as well. However, while you are busy getting yourself ready she decides to go outside and play in the mud. Tell me at which point do you stop loving your daughter? Yes you may be upset with her for playing in mud. Even upset at her disobedience in not staying in the lounge room. And if you are not a laundry ad mum, as I declare I am not, you may even be frustrated at the thought of getting the white dress clean. But, from experience I can testify that I have not yet managed to stop loving my daughter. Do you then leave her in the dress and take her to the party covered in mud? I wouldn’t. I would clean her off and place a new pretty dress on her ready for the party.
Just as the creator couldn’t stop loving their diamond and a parent can’t stop loving their daughter, so it is with God. God has unconditional love for what He originally created. His long term purpose is to lovingly remove anything that is stopping His original creation shinning its true beauty.
I have often reached moments in my journey of faith where God has touched on something in my life and asked me to let it go and replace it with Him. Take this blog for instance. When I felt stirred to do blog posts about my journey of faith and healing, I didn’t feel overly happy about it. In fact the thought of doing this blog was against all of my natural instincts. Natural instincts that had hidden me away and ‘protected’ me for nearly 34 years. While my natural instincts had protective qualities, they were also doing me harm. They were preventing me from living my life to its fullest. My reasoning for not doing the blog was that if people saw who I really was they would reject me. I said to God, no thanks I prefer to be hidden. It’s safe there. I grappled with this for days until I was convinced that I was going to be okay. What changed my mind? Two things: One, the mounting evidence of God revealing himself as my new protective covering, or safety net; and Two, I heard God say to me, “Cheryl there will always be people who will reject you. I, however, will always love you”. That word from Him was enough to remind me that God only asks me to do things out of His heart of love.
God can see my diamond hidden in the grime. He knows how He can lovingly reveal it. While I may struggle to obey and let go, I have learnt to instinctively trust Him; believing in His unconditional love for me.