It seems that many in our world society today confuse real love that tells the truth in loving ways with a selfish permissive acceptance that is okay with people destroying their lives through sinful behavior. Max Lucado wrote, “God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way.” I read an article this week by Catholic writer Ray Suriani, who had a similar direction. Here are some excerpts:
I begin today with two questions for the parents in the congregation. (Those of you who are not parents can imagine what your responses would be if you were.)
Question #1: Do you love your children just as they are?
I hope your response to that question is a resounding Yes!—because if you say no, you’re indicating that the love you have for your children is conditional. You’re implying that they have to do something or become something or pass some kind of test in order to earn your love. Most parents that I know, thankfully, do not put those kinds of conditions and restrictions on the love they have for their sons and daughters. They love their children, even when their children ignore them or disappoint them or hurt them or rebel against them. One of the best examples of this phenomenon in the Bible is the Old Testament story of David and Absalom. David loved his child unconditionally! He didn’t love what his son had done, but he did love his son.
Which brings us to question #2: If you love your children just as they are, are you content to let them stay that way?
In this case, I hope your answer is a resounding No! David loved Absalom just as he was, but I’m sure that if David had been given the chance, he would have done everything in his power to change his son for the better! And so it is with all good parents. They love their children just as they are—but too much to let them remain in their present condition!
Which is exactly how God loves us—except that his love is infinitely greater than the love of even the very best parents here on earth! But, of course, he loves us much too much to let us remain in our sin! And so, he’ll do whatever he can to bring us to conversion. He’ll even allow us to suffer, as good parents will sometimes allow their children to suffer so that they will become better people.
Sunday we will tackle this issue as it relates to Christian unity. We will revisit a chart from Dr. Randy Lowry, president of Lipscomb University, and examine the tension between the relationship and the issue. Sunday evening in the auditorium we will look at specific Biblical examples and find the common ground. And also Sunday evening our young people and their parents will have a great opportunity to take part in a discussion with Steve Holladay as he addresses the subject of sexual morality. What a practical application of drawing lines between what is acceptable and unacceptable to God, while holding on to those that we love! I hope that you will be an active part of these important activities.