We often find that the human love of the lover runs in proportion with the goodness of the one being loved. For instance, I may start out loving someone so intensely and wholeheartedly. So it seems. But being human, I am surely to be hurt at some time and to some extent by this someone and with each time I am hurt, I pull back my love little by little. I ration my love increasingly. I rationalise how much of me I can entrust to this person according to his capabilities of taking care of my vulnerability. It might even reach a point where that love diminishes completely and turns into hate.
Our perception of love is very much, more often than not, influenced by such encounters with a love that consistently undergoes renegotiations. A love that requires us to keep investing our time and caution to upkeep. A love that needs to be earned by an exchange of my good deeds and my own initiatives which prove me to be worthy of this love. A love that seems to be inconsistent and thus, provides me with more insecurity than security. A love that can be lost at any time when I am proven unworthy.
And with this knowledge of what love is, isn't it true that we often find it beyond us to understand the love of God for us? Definitely, we can never fully comprehend God's infinite love for us. But to trust in God's love for us, to accept this love, to know this love, to live in this love, to rest in this love, to rely on this love... all seem too far-fetched for anyone who has no experiences with and who has little concept of a love that is given freely without conditions, a love that remains consistent across time, space and circumstances.
Is the love that God has for us proportionate to our sinfulness? In theory, by faith, we know the obvious answer to this question but in the reality of our lives, in the way we actually live out our faith, can we find traces of an underlying distortion of the love we think God must have for us? When we realise how we have sinned, how tough it is to even want to ask God for forgiveness because to us, at least to me, I find myself so undeserving, so unfit even to be in the sacred presence of God.
If God's love is proportionate to the sinfulness of mankind, then history would be markedly different from what it is today. Jesus would not have emptied Himself of His glory and power to take on human flesh. The Father would not have parted with His Son and witness Him hang lifeless on the cross. Is there anyone on earth who deserves His love? Is there anyone of us whose life can justify His coming? Is there anyone who is so pure and spotless as to be fitting to come in direct contact with the body and blood of the pure and spotless Christ on our tongues at Communion? No, there isn't.
Yet, God came to us on His own accord, by His own initiative, before the majority of mankind was even born. The love that He has already fixed, nailed onto the cross. This love needs no renegotiation, needs no renewal. It does not require us to do anything to earn it and neither is it something that can be earned. It is not a commodity put on sale on the shelves, tagged with a price. This love remains a constant while the state of our lives go on fluctuating. From the beginning all through eternity, it will not move one inch. Regardless of my unworthiness, regardless of my distance from Him, whenever I turn to this love, I will always find it there in its totality, in its fullness, not an ounce short. This love that never changes, that has already been given freely without any of my doing... this is the love that I can, at every moment, rest secure in. This love that surrounds and protects me, that provides for me everything that is good, that promises good and hope amidst pain and sufferings. This love that calms the storminess of my heart when trouble stirs with the assurance that all is well and under control in the loving hands of my God.
What is your image of God's love?
In what ways have you humanised God's divine love?