January 29: “Unconditional Love”
(On One Condition)
Verse Of The Day: This is what the LORD says, “…you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you…” – Isaiah 43:1,4
Uh… that’s it? Wow – talk about cherry-picking! Above are the portions the author chose to share from selected Bible verses in order to set up a devotional about God’s amazing and unconditional love for you. There’s only one problem – there’s a bit more to those verses.
FULL Verse Of The Day: This is what the LORD says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. You are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours“ – Isaiah 43:1,4
Sorry, Charlie, it might feel good to have a God “trade” somebody’s life for yours, but there is nothing “unconditional” about a love that is manifested by the abandonment, oppression, or slaughter of others. Period. (If you have any interest in the long-winded mental gymnastics required to make sense of this “love,” see if you can keep a straight face while reading Herman Hoeksema’s sermon – ‘The Place of Reprobation in the Preaching of the Gospel.’ Just be sure to take a decoder right with you.)
Today’s Theistic Themes: Today’s devotional is all about the “unconditional love” of God. The same unconditional love he possessed when he flooded the earth to kill his own children. The same unconditional love he possessed when creating hell just for those who don’t love him… first. Christianity is completely built around conditional love – Jesus loves you so much that he’ll send you to hell to burn for all eternity, unless… That is the very definition of conditional love.
The ironic thing is how repetitive the author is in trying to relate God’s love to that of a familial love. Of course, the obvious problem with this parallel is how many times the Bible specifically encourages/demands followers to reject (or even kill) their own families in order to prove their love to God. This is the kind of “unconditional” love that eventually brought Jesus to reject his own mother.
Short Secular Alternative: Sadly, I’ve met few Christians who are able to love as freely and unconditionally as their secular counterparts. I must say that this comes as no surprise – they are simply following the example set forth by God’s own conditional love for them. It’s easy to talk about loving one’s neighbor, but when it comes to showing that love – why should “others” be able to experience love so freely, if Christians are expected to beg for God’s love on bended knee? Is it any surprise that it is evangelical Christians are at the forefront of everything from the ban on helpless refugees to the fight against marriage equality? The message of Christianity is clear – if you want God’s love or that of his people, you must earn it first! Conversely, it seems that secular humanists are more able to love for the sake of love itself – no gods necessary.
P.S. Yep, I’m finally getting around to putting up a little tip jar.
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I’ve got going on. (Spoiler Alert: I could use your help.)
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