please take love for granted

taking love for granted cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

“Taking Love For Granted” by nakedpastor David Hayward

Why are we told to not take God’s love for granted?

Negatively, it’s usually used to control us. It’s used to make us afraid of not being able to get it or keep it. It’s used to dictate to us how to live our lives, how to feel, think and behave.

Positively, it’s used to make us continually mindful of God’s love, always thinking about it, always thankful for it, always living up to it.

I want to suggest that neither of these are perfect. Obviously, the first is fear based. Less obviously, so is the second one.

As a parent, the last thing I want is for my kids to feel they can’t get my love and are always afraid of losing it if they do. The second last thing I want is for my kids to always be thinking about how much I love them and for them to constantly be mindful of it and living up to it. Like I’m doing them a favor by loving them. No. As a parent, I want them to take my love for them for granted so that they don’t even have to assume that I love them. They just know it, deep down in the fibers of their being, and that they never have to question it, earn it, try to keep it or even be thinking about it. I believe this assumption on their part will prepare to send them into the world fearless, compassionate and just.

Do we think about every breath we take? Are we conscious of it or always feeling the need to be thankful for it? Or do we just breathe? Sure, occasionally we might burst forth in eternal praise for fresh air. But we take it for granted.

If there is a God, and if God is love, then why can’t we take this love for granted like we take the air we breathe for granted? Isn’t this the kind of love that one would expect from such a God? Isn’t this the kind of love that propelled Jesus into his world fearless, compassionate and just, never having to wonder if his father loved him, never feeling the need to get it or keep it, indeed, taking it for granted?

What if you suddenly surgically removed that cancer from your life? What if you removed the fear of not getting God’s love? What if you removed the fear of not keeping it? What if you didn’t even have to think about it or be thankful for it? What if, one day, while you were saying your prayers, you said to God, “Father, thank you so much for loving me!” and God actually responded, “What are you talking about? Why are you feeling so insecure? Why do you feel so needy? Stop feeling like I’m doing you a favor! Of course I love you! This is the greatest ‘of course’ of all time. No! Please! Take my love for granted!”

Instead of anxiously looking forward to getting it or thankfully looking back that you got it why not just live in it?

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • http://forthisisthetime.blogspot.com/ Esther Aspling

    This really made me think of my marriage and parenting, I need to rethink how I feel when taken for granted.
    Awesome stuff! :-)

    http://forthisisthetime.blogspot.com/

  • Adam Julians

    I hear the points you have wanted to make about not taking God’s love for granted leading to fear to behave, think or feel a certain way or in being mindful and living up to it.

    And that you would advocate living in God’s love taking it for granted, and argue that this is what propelled Jesus with compassion, fearlessnes and justice.

    i am in agreement in princople with you. However comparing humanity to Jesus is not a like for like comparison due to the issue of sin. Therfore at times of rebelliousness (we all have them) then we will expereince fear and we will need to be mindful and get ourselves back on track. The danger in what you say is not that we misapproprate God’s love but that we take for granted that we are acting as Jesus whether we are or whether we are being sinful. There is a discipline side to things in being a follower of Jesus just as an athelete displines themself in training to be fit for a race. God loves us in spite of us not being without sin, and he loves us enough to not want us to stay sinful but be constanlty growing in likeness to Christ.

    In support of what you are advocating, I would recommend consideration of training the mind in compassion and mindfullness meditation.

    Some relevent sites.

    http://www.mindfulnessassociation.org/Home.aspx

    http://www.wccm.org/

  • David Hayward

    thanks esther.

  • Brigitte Mueller

    Gratitude comes to us not very easily. So it is good to cultivate it and to realize that we often are not grateful. I find Luther’s morning prayer very helpful to simply be happy to be alive to have come through the night safely and be up and at it again. And to be thankful again that the sun shines for the good and the bad and therefore also for me. — Jesus taught us to pray: “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” It is simply the fact that to err is human and forgive divine. We always stand in this need of confession and receiving again. It is a good thing. The sun of God’s forgiveness shines for me again, today.

  • Al Cruise

    Wow David, Excellent ! Your words at the end ” why not just live in it” no greater truth has ever been spoken. That’s how we’ve run our service for the last 7 years,the fruits have been amazing. Those words are the meaning of life on earth.

  • David Hayward

    thanks al


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X