Lent Thoughts for March 23



By James D. Hernando

God’s Love in Unconditional

“..This aspect of God’s love is perhaps the most difficult to grasp. It is so because it is contrary to the very core of man’s selfish nature. So often we love because it serves us to do so. There is a “profit motive” behind much of what we call love. Couples marry because they feel they can’t live apart. They profess that they need one another, that each fills and fulfills the other’s needs. What is often overlooked is that, despite the romantic rhetoric, the love shared is essentially selfish and self-serving. It is founded not on commitment, but on performance.

God’s love stands in stark contrast. God took the initiative to love us first (1 John 4:19) before there was anything in us worth loving. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). In fact, as sinners we are described as “alienated [from God] and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds (Colossians 1:21).

Such a love involves a total acceptance patterned after Christ: “Wherefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us” (Romans 15:7). Furthermore, it involves a total or unlimited forgiveness such as we have experienced from Christ, “forgiving each other . . . just as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13). Jesus helped Peter learn that true forgiveness sets no numerical limits (Matthew 18: 22). The unconditional status of such forgiveness is epitomized by the words uttered from the cross: “Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34)….”