One meme on Facebook offered this:
“Jesus sat down and ate with sinners, did he not? That doesn’t mean he supported what they did. But it also didn’t keep him from loving them.”
I have been pondering the nature of godly love and what unconditional love means….. It has led me to lots of thinking about the difference between unconditional love and holding an individual accountable for healthy boundaried fellowship. I think Jesus practiced both. Yest, Jesus had fellowship with sinners over meals, in conversations at wells or the Temple, and elsewhere. But he did more..
Jesus offered them spiritual healing and also told them to “go and sin no more..” If they continued sinning he didn’t love them less, but they were not included in the fellowship of followers or given the keys to the kingdom…..two parts to relationship with God…. his unconditional love (without a doubt) and also his requirement for hungering and thirsting for righteousness in order to enjoy his fellowship and the blessings that come from close communion….. We cannot lose his love, but we can forfeit his fellowship…… Godly love is unconditional positive regard AND accountability in righteous fellowship. Everyone wants the first part but would prefer to conveniently skate over the second part….What kind of relationship only TAKES the unconditional love extended, feeding the self-interest love language of “make ME feel good” and refuses to love God back in the love language that is HIS LOVE Language: “If you love me you will keep my commandments…” My husband’s love language is quality time (including home cooking) and mine is words of affirmation and acts of service (including taking out the trash.) So if we’re both to experience love in the relationship, each has to “speak the love language” of the other. God knows we need to be fully accepted and loved JUST AS WE ARE WHEN WE COME TO HIM. His desire is that the love we feel from him leads to loving him in return and will make us want to BE IN HIS PRESENCE continually and begin living into the holiness that will allow us to do that forever! But if one is living out of a totally self-interest based ethic that is so inculcated by our culture and the selfishness of the human condition, it might just not register in such a self-absorbed person that God desires companionship with his children….and doing so requires observing certain boundaries of holiness, honor and reverence.