“Have no doubt, though: great love is always a discovery, a revelation, a wonderful surprise, a falling into ‘something’ much bigger and deeper that is literally beyond us and larger than us.” Richard Rohr1
Great love is what our Father sent us through Christ Jesus. Great love is what Jesus wrapped us in during his three year, restorational journey on earth. Great love is what the Spirit daily fills us with through God’s wisdom and the words of Jesus. (John 3:16-17, 14:26, 1 John 4:13)
If we allow this love to fill us, to permeate every cell within us, we are then able to pass this kind of great, unconditional love along to others. In addition, accepting this love from God allows us to eschew judgment.
In fact, His love leads us to a desire to renounce judgment because we know the reverse is to trust in our own power to fix people. Trusting in our own judgment sends us backward to eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Forgoing judgment, on the other hand, places our trust in the power of God and His love flowing through us.
“[When] we trust the accuracy of our judgment and trust the power of our disapproval to fix people – to convict them and move them toward holiness…though we may deny it, we are in fact presenting salvation as though it were a matter of getting others to conform to our version of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Moreover, in thinking or presenting this conditional gospel, we are ourselves continuing to eat from this forbidden tree.” Gregory A. Boyd2
Accepting God’s unconditional love is the first step of a lifelong journey into our new life in Christ, our transformation of mind and heart. It is what inspires us to be teachable, to reframe our entire world view from our narrow, human outlook to a God’s restorative point of view. (2 Corinthians 5:16-20)
Jesus did not die in vain; he drank this cup to free us all from the chains of law. He gave us a clear message which his apostle Paul reiterated: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:10)
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40, emphasis mine)
To honor his mission and sacrifice, and to acknowledge his defeat over sin and death takes the complete surrender to the unconditional love and radical grace he offers. If we do not allow His love and grace to filter deep into our hearts and minds, we will be unable to comprehend His compassion, His acceptance and His invitation to walk into His arms.
If we cannot look in the mirror and see His great love for us, how do we then see ourselves falling in love with Him?
This relationship with our Triune God is like an invitation to a banquet where exquisite food is served.
If we do not partake in the appetizer embrace of the Father’s unconditional love, the main course of Jesus’ grace, compassion and freedom, and the dessert of the presence and wisdom of the Spirit, we will remain forever hungry for our own value.
Our worth resides in the arms of a Father who sees us as we are: not as slaves of law but as His beloved children belonging forever to His family. Our worth is settled in the heart of Jesus who sees us as his pearl of great value. Our worth is nested in the way the Spirit inhabits our heart, guides us in wisdom and remains in us.
For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17)
1©2011 Richard Rohr, Falling Upward, introduction xxvii, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA
2©2004 Gregory A. Boyd, Repenting of Religion, p.210, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI