For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16 NIV
I spent four years as a nanny for the cute girls pictured above. I couldn’t love them more if they were my own kids. They’re sweet, smart, funny, and so lovable just for who they are. I would do anything for them.
I brag about them. I tell cute stories about them. I buy them stuff. I listen to “Into the Unknown” 40 times in a row because I know their faces light up when they hear it every single time, and their reactions bring me delight.
The Bible says that we are God’s children and we are adopted into his family. He is our Father, and He loves us like a parent loves his kids.
That sounds nice and everything, but for those of us who aren’t actually parents, I think sometimes that can be hard to fully comprehend. At least, I thought so.
This week God reminded me that he loves his children the way I love the kids I’ve taken care of over the years.
Then it clicked. God loves us the way I love those lovable little girls – even more! He loves us like we’re lovable little children. No matter what kind of messes we make or what kind of attitude we give him, he loves us unconditionally. We can throw temper tantrums or act like two-year-olds, and he would still love us unconditionally. He delights in us.
God loves me that way.
He loves you that way.
He loves everybody that way.
But here’s the part that really blew my mind: He also loves the people I don’t like that way.
Let me say that again: God unconditionally loves the people we don’t even like.
Let’s be real: there are people in this world who are really hard to love.
You know the ones. I’m sure a few come to mind right off the bat. Those people who test our patience. The mean girls. The downright cruel ones. The ones who treat us poorly, who talk behind our backs or in front of our faces, who steal from us, who turn others against us. The ones who betray us. The ones who lie, the ones who brag, the ones who criticize, and the ones who make us cry.
God loves those people, and he loves them the way a parent loves his child. He would do anything for them. As a matter of fact, he did – he sent his son to die for them.
That’s a really deep love for people who don’t deserve it.
News flash: we are those people.
We are the sinners who’ve probably tested the patience of others, talked about them behind their backs, and made them cry. I mean, come on, with our siblings alone! I don’t know about you, but when my brothers and I were growing up, there was plenty of name-calling and crying between the three of us.
We’ve all sinned. We’ve all been those annoying, infuriating, coldhearted, unlovable ones. And God loves us anyway.
As one of his children, he also expects us to love others in the same way that he does. He’s not asking us to love them any more than he loves us or forgive them any more than he’s forgiven us. Sin is sin. It all falls short of God’s standard, and yet he forgives it all. He loves every one of us like we’re his prized child, the apple of his eye. He loves us like we’re cooing little babies even when we act like Terrible Two-year-olds.
That’s the kind of love God has for every single person on the planet.
That’s the kind of love I need to have for every single person on the planet.
So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you.John 12:15 TPT
Whoa. So convicting. I’ve got a long way to go.
My prayer is that the next time I come across someone who’s not easy to love, I’ll picture the sweet little face of one of my nanny kids and remember that’s how I’m supposed to love. Like every person standing in front of me is completely lovable, just for who they are. Because that’s how God feels about them.
My prayer for you is that God will give you that same reminder when you encounter the unlovable ones. Picture the face of someone you love so much you’d do anything for them, and purpose to love the unlovable in that same way.
May we all gain a greater understanding of the Father’s love for us, and may we all extend that same love to everyone we encounter…even the ones who are hard to love. ❤️