Get to Know the God Who Loves Us Even When We Do Not Love Him Back


Part of my problem with believing God personally loves me is that I wouldn’t love me. Maybe, if there were some high principle at stake, I would try to act loving toward someone as flighty, weak-willed, and greedy for attention as me. The reason I’m not despised for these traits is that they usually stay hidden. That Groucho Marx joke–“I wouldn’t join any club that would have me as a member”–is actually no joke. Pride is how I keep the mask of humility in place.

So I can’t imagine being in love with someone who didn’t love me back. Desiring someone, maybe; longing to own or possess when the sentiment is not returned. But sacrificial love toward an unworthy object who–even after she is won–often ignores, disregards, or trades upon that love would be beneath me. I have my pride, after all. A noble death I might be able to manage: something like Sidney Carton, in A Tale of Two Cities, going to the guillotine for the sake of the woman he loves. But for most of us, such a death would be a step up.
Jesus stepped down, inconceivably down, to love. As if being wrapped in rags and placed in a feeding trough were not down enough, He descended still further to a degrading death. The kind of death intended to reduce a human being to a piece of screaming meat: all dignity, all identity, even, consumed in a crawl of minutes. It would merely be pitiable if a well-meaning savior had stumbled into a death like that. But to volunteer for it, to actually debase Himself to such an extent–didn’t he have any pride?
Well, no. Pride belongs to humans, not God. He doesn’t need it. It’s the pedestal we build to elevate ourselves, but He who makes the earth His footstool could hardly elevate Himself further.
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Janie B. Cheaney