We cannot develop a close relationship with God if we have a distorted image of God. If we think God is uninvolved in daily events, then we will not see God’s activity in what happens. If we see God as being very remote, then personal communication is impossible. If we perceive God as a judge whom we appease with good behavior or as a policeman who watches for our every offense, we will believe that God cannot love us. God is far greater than anything we can imagine. Yet, through Jesus we can know the loving nature of our Creator. Scripture tells us God is love and that God delights in us. God comes to us and dwells in us.
– David Muyskens, Forty Days to a Closer Walk with God
God, he suddenly understood, was love in its purest form, and in these last months with his children, he had felt His touch as surely as he had heard the music spilling from Ronnie’s hands. – Nicholas Sparks, The Last Song
I have never met a person whose greatest need was anything other than real, unconditional love. It is our connection to God and to each other.
– Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
1 John 4:9-10 NRSV
God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Why is it so hard for us to believe that God’s love really is unconditional and that we should imitate God’s love not only for others, but also for ourselves? Perhaps we have regarded self-centered behavior too harshly. We are unwilling or unable to give ourselves the same gentle grace that God offers us and that we believe should be offered to others. Leap from doubt to belief and remember that God loves you, delights in you, and yearns for your response.
– Norman Shawchuck and Rueben P. Job, A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God
It is God’s will that we have true delight with God in our salvation and that we be mightily comforted and strengthened. And so God wants our souls to be occupied joyfully with God’s grace. For we are God’s bliss, for God delights in us without end,
and so, by God’s grace, will we delight in God. – Julian of Norwich
Romans 12:9 NRSV
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good
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.
– Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a NRSV
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
Ephesians 3:18-19 NRSV
I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Click here for a healing, grace-filled post on God’s unconditional love by Rachel Held Evans entitled Six Words You Should Hear Today