There we were, sitting in a new church on a Sunday morning. Having just moved to a new town only a month ago, after living in Southern California for 25 years, my wife and I were mostly looking for an opportunity to gather with other Christ-followers. Our long-term plan is still to start another house church family here, but in the meantime, we were just looking for an opportunity to fellowship.
So, the worship set that morning was great. But during the announcements there was something said that really bothered me. The guy up front mentioned that they were putting together Christmas boxes for local school kids as part of an initiative to help less fortunate children. Kinda cool, right?
Well, as the guy was explaining why the church does this, he said the main reason was “so that we can show these kids some undeserved love.”
Now, I know what he probably meant by that, but it really bothered me. Like, all day long.
As soon as he said it, I immediately wrote in my little notebook the words, “Everyone deserves love.”
On the one hand, I can forgive the misspoken sentiment. Assuming it was misspoken. That’s the part I’m not sure of. Because there’s still a chance that the guy making this announcement meant exactly what he said and possibly even chose those words carefully.
See, if you think that humans are basically evil, then you probably believe that those children are wretched sinners at heart. At least, the non-Christian kids are.
So, you tell yourself that by putting these little gift boxes together, you’re expressing the love of Christ to these kids, and you’re probably also thinking to yourself that the love of Christ is undeserved love.
To be fair, the guy making the announcement (who turned out to be their Senior pastor) probably also believes that Christians don’t deserve the love of Christ either. So, it’s not like he’s looking down on those kids. He may just be looking down on everyone, including himself.
But, I really challenge this whole concept that none of us deserves the love of Christ.
Why? Well, for one thing because this is never taught in the entire New Testament. Nope. Not once.
What we do see is that the love of God, and the love of Christ is described as being beyond our comprehension, and bigger and taller, and deeper and wider than we can possibly imagine. We’re told that God is love. We’re told that nothing will ever separate us from God’s love, or the love of Christ. We’re told that God’s love is perfect, that God’s love changes us, and that God’s love compels us to love others with the same love we have been loved with.
But never, not once, does the New Testament ever say that we do not deserve God’s love.
Think about it this way: would any parent ever say to their child: “I love you so much. But, you don’t deserve my love.”
Of course not. So, if God is a better Father than you or I could ever be, then it’s guaranteed that God would never tell us that we don’t deserve to be loved.
Everyone deserves the love of God.
Why? Because we are made in the image of God. (And God is love).
Because we are all the offspring of God. (And what Father doesn’t love his children?)
Because God says we are loved. (And what more proof do we need than this?)
So, the next time you feel compelled to bless someone who is less fortunate, or to show kindness to a stranger, or even to do something nice for someone in your family, or even for yourself, please, please keep this in mind: Everyone deserves to be loved, and everyone is already loved by God.
There is no such thing as “undeserved love” because, like it or not, we are loved with an everlasting love by a God who is love, and who created us to love and to be loved.Don’t you just love that?
Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community.
His new book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.
He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” with a Foreword by Greg Boyd.
Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.
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