How God Loves

Earlier this month, an article made the rounds on the web explaining what it feels like to be both a practicing Christian and a non-practicing homosexual. It’s pretty good, and it set off a fair amount of online discussion. I’m not looking to explain my understanding of this hot-button issue here. I already wrote a really long article about it a long time ago. Wesley Hills, who writes as a Christian who is gay, tells of the loneliness that comes from being different from so many around him. What struck me most in his article was the following passage:

I know well-meaning Christians who often remind me, “God’s love for you is better than any love you might find in a human relationship.” While I believe this is true in an ultimate and profound sense, putting it this way seems to set up a false dichotomy. A statement more in sync with the drift of the New Testament might go something like this: “God’s love for us is expressed and experienced mainly through the medium of human relationships.”

That last statement really stuck with me. I’ve seen that false dichotomy before. And he’s right: I don’t feel God’s love in a vacuum. Separated from actual relationships with people, my relationship with God can be entirely “in my head.” Now don’t get me wrong…I know Him on my own, too. But my relationship with Him needs anchors–contact points with the world around me. And I find that comes most often through people.

I know, objectively speaking, that God is present, that He is involved in my life, and that He cares for me. But I am not merely an intellectual being (despite how my blog may make me sound sometimes!). I also FEEL. And I feel His love through the love of other people. And truth be told, the only truths that really change you are the truths that make you feel something. That’s not existentialism, by the way, it’s just a fact. We can “believe” all kinds of things without them really affecting us, changing us. But when something really moves us, we really change.

This made me think a bit about how God’s care for those around me gets communicated through me. It’s a humbling thought, really. For example, my children will gain part of their image of God through what I teach them about God, objectively speaking. But the most lasting impressions of Him will come from how I treat them. How I love them. If they grow up feeling the care and love of their father, they will find it much easier to see how their heavenly Father loves them, too.

In truth, the same thing goes for all my other relationships. It’s true for my wife, for my friends and extended family, and for the brothers and sisters in my church community. When I stop and consider it, I mean really stop. And consider. This thought adds such weight and meaning to even the simplest moments with others. I am becoming a vehicle for the love of God, right there in the middle of every day, boring stuff. Pretty cool.

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2 Responses to “How God Loves”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks for the good reminder, Neil. Sure wish we could pop in and experience some of that love with ya’ll!!

  2. Sean Says:

    Really good stuff, Neil. That hit me right where it counts.

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