There is a false narrative at work in our world, in our minds, in our hearts, and it can run and ruin us. That false narrative is that God loves us only when we do good. God’s love, in this narrative, is conditional. It’s as if God is in a swivel chair and he only faces us when we do good.
Do you see this narrative of God’s conditional love? Where do you see it? How do you connect God’s demand of repentance with unconditional love?
That is such a good question. Where do we get the idea that we can only be loved if we measure up? Honestly now — have any of us ever been told that? Why do we struggle so much with believing that God can love us deeply when every day we have food to eat, clothes to wear, and people who care for us? I know that not everyone has this, but most of the people I have known in my life have never really had to struggle with having their physical needs met.
Beyond that, if we have been raised within the Judeo-Christian belief system, we also know that God is not the only supernatural being who works in our lives. Evil is very real and very present. Satan delights in making us question God’s love for us and keeps us very focused on what we don’t have rather than what we do.
How do repentance and unconditional love fit together? Well if we can’t be honest with ourselves about who we really are and what we’re capable of, then how can accept that God loves us no matter what? Being repentant — having a soft heart — is crucial in allowing God to work in your life. Satan tries so hard to keep us defensive and in blame-game mode. Nothing is my fault. Everything is someone else’s fault. Victim mentality is everywhere.
I don’t understand victim mentality. Why would anyone prefer to live life at the mercy of others instead of being willing to do what they can do? Wouldn’t it be preferable to have something that you can change, even if it’s a small thing? We can’t always choose the circumstances we are in, but we can choose how we respond to it. We don’t have to be reactionary.
So what does this have to do with God’s love? Well — until I was honest with myself about how unlovable I was, I didn’t really understand how much God loved me. Until I realized that I couldn’t control everything in my life, I didn’t realize that with God’s help, I could control how I responded to things. I don’t always respond well, but if I have a soft heart then I can apologize to others involved, repent, and move forward.
Yes — if you can’t be honest about who you are, then real love isn’t possible. If you are making yourself keep certain conditions, then you can’t accept unconditional love even when it’s offered.