Just as I am. Come as you are. No conditions. No requirements. No clean-up. No reorientation.
That kind of God and that kind of love sets the stage for the rest of us. God shows us how to love and He puts His love in us to carry it out. And it’s a love that stays the same on both sides of salvation.
I recently met a man who told me he had a special ministry to homosexuals — that he loved them and accepted them, but of course, once they came to Christ, he then had to show them in the scriptures where homosexuality is a sin and they’re going to have to change their ways.
That’s like saying, “I love you, I accept you; Christ died for your sins;” and as soon as someone responds, we pull the rug out from under them and go: “JUST KIDDING!”
Change is in the picture for all of us, but it is in no way connected to love and acceptance, as if God withholds, or takes back His love and acceptance until we fix ourselves. Do you have anything you need to change? Why haven’t you done anything about that? How long do you expect to take? What shall we do with you in the meantime?
I’ve got some things that need to change in my life that I’ve been tolerating for some time. Whether it’s that I’m refusing to change, or it’s simply too hard, I’m not going to even try to answer right now, but I do notice that I haven’t been kicked out of the kingdom. Unfortunately, I am forcing those around me to tolerate me in my disobedience (not to mention making myself miserable) which they are doing, somehow, because they love me, though I’m putting a lot of strain on their love and forgiveness.
But the love of God is on a whole different level. It’s not dependent on these discussions. Nothing gets in the way of it. We don’t measure out love, or withhold it, or make it at all conditional. We just love and accept people as they are, because that’s what God does.
DO YOU BELIEVE THAT THE GOD OF JESUS LOVES YOU BEYOND WORTHINESS AND UNWORTHINESS, BEYOND FIDELITY AND INFIDELITY, THAT HE LOVES YOU IN THE MORNING SUN AND THE EVENING RAIN, THAT HE LOVES YOU WHEN YOUR INTELLECT DENIES IT, YOUR EMOTIONS REFUSE IT, YOUR WHOLE BEING REJECTS IT? DO YOU BELIEVE THAT GOD LOVES WITHOUT CONDITION OR RESERVATION, AND LOVES YOU THIS MOMENT AS YOU ARE AND NOT AS YOU SHOULD BE? — Brennan Manning