Can we over-emphasize God’s love? I was thinking about that as I was trying to sleep last night. Some think that we can. We can use God’s love as an excuse, to convince ourselves that we can sin and still be okay with God. After all, God loves us, right? He won’t reject us if we are disobedient!
There are seasons in my life, though, when God’s law—-or perhaps my perception and understanding of God’s law—-weighs me down. In these times, I may find myself hesitant to lean on God’s love, since a little voice in my head is telling me that I cannot use God’s love as an excuse to sin. Sometimes, I can pray and the right attitude materializes within me, making the Christian life look like a cake-walk. At other times, that does not work so well, and I am conscious of how much I fall short of God’s high standards (or, again, my perceptions and understanding thereof).
But I was thinking: Can I really over-emphasize God’s love? Do Christian legalists—-and my inner Christian legalist—-seriously think that the way to get me on the straight and narrow is for me to believe in a harsh, judgmental God? Belief in that sort of God does not bear much fruit in my life. It does not make me joyful, loving, and peaceful, the fruits of the Spirit that Christian legalists (and, again, my inner Christian legalist) may judge me as not having.
I do not believe that I can overemphasize God’s love. Actually, I believe that God’s love is what I need to be a fruitful Christian. How can I forgive or love a person who rejects me? I can remind myself—-and remind myself until it becomes an integral aspect of my identity—-that God loves me unconditionally and will never ever reject me.
I do believe, though, that I should adopt a belief in God’s love for me that orients my view of others in a positive direction. Yes, God loves me, but it is not God and me against the rest of the world. God loves everyone else, too.