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Scandalous Love

How dare God love me.

We have a system going in this world where we love the people who provide value (money, good laughs, etc) and hate those that do not (pedophiles, murderers, etc). For the most part, it works well for us. It gives us a platform for pride by comparing ourselves with the less loved, and opportunity for advancement as though we are in control.

I recently read a news article about bullying where children said that one boy deserved the constant teasing he received because he choose to read books during his lunch break. This is disgusting to us yet how often do we withhold our love for people because of such simple things as the colour of their skin, the fact they are annoying, because they swear or drink and they live on the streets. Yet we are so keen to love people who are popular, rich, funny, intelligent, and who can give us things in return. The golden rule of society: only love when it is easy and there is a reward.

We can go about our lives without ever suffering for someone who will not return our favour. We can hide the ugly parts of our personality and past as people do not care about who we are – only what we do. Because we are respected due to instrumental rather than intrinsic value we can pretend that we are not broken as long as we are useful.

But then Jesus came and upset all that. He went straight to the most undesirable, useless members of society and showed them a love that is greater than what we reserve for even the most popular members of society. It upset the system.

Jesus didn’t love people for what they could do, how they dressed, or what their status was. He loved the unlovable people and he extends the same love to all of us. This is scandalous, for we are of no value to God. He does not need us to help him run the universe, or to make him feel good from our praise, or to do his will. He’s bigger than we are! If anything we are like an ache in his side. Forever hurting one another and raping this world. We should, if things were fair, be recipients of God’s wrath rather than his love.

But God is not fair. He loves us. This causes a lot of trouble because it undermines the fundamental assumption of our system – that people are of value solely for what they do. God loves us for who we are. We can’t have this, as it exposes us all for wretched, sinful, and self-absorbed brats competing for love that we have already had since birth.

We can’t have this. Our pride will not let us be exposed as such.

So we killed God. The only truly innocent man, who did nothing but love, disturbed our pride in such a way that we had to kill Him. Even more, we needed to brake Him. The system required that He hated us, so we had to make Him hate us. If we could then we would prove His love was conditional, and thus the world could go on. So we tested His limits and poured out our greatest wrath upon the most innocent man – the world’s worst evil.

But our plan was foiled. For on the cross Jesus did not choose to hate us, but instead offered us forgiveness. Love overcame evil. It persisted through the greatest darkness and showed itself to be greater, much greater, than we had imagined.

What a scandal! That Jesus could love men even as they drove nails into His hands! That when we mocked Him, and spat on Him, He still loved us. It shattered for all our assumption that love must be earned and exposed us for fools.

We couldn’t break God, but He broke us. With all our attempts to prove our instrumental worth stripped bare we are left with nothing. We are wretched. We are sinners. We are evil.

But God still loves us!

He loves us regardless of social status, popularity, income, the colour of our skin, the thoughts we have, or the sins we have committed. Nothing we do can make Him love us more or less.

Also, He loves everyone else the same way. Jesus set up a new system for living. One where love cannot be earned, but must be given. It is the kingdom of the loved unlovables. Its citizens no longer try to bolster their image and instrumental value, but they’ll strain themselves to love others. It is the ultimate alternative to the current order, and its existence serves to criticise that order and call its members to repentance.

It’s scandalous. We Christians belong to a reality of freely given yet utterly undeserved love. It appears so foolish to this world that they will persecute us, jail us, beat us, scorn us, and kill us but we will still love them. As in the example of Christ our love with outlast their evil, revealing their inadequacy, and showing them a new way of life.

This is Christianity: a broken and unlovable people who extend grace so freely that they world must stop them at any cost. Love is a scandal.

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  1. August 20, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks you; this is a powerful reminder of why I’m forever grateful for the way he loves me. God Bless.

  2. rashmi
    August 21, 2008 at 5:06 am

    Its precise and brilliant,excellent stuff.touching.i’ve got it on my friends blog,he linked it up.good and perfect work.and thats true,”love is a scandal”

  3. August 30, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    What a powerful, powerful post. Well done, and thanks for writing it.

  1. August 20, 2008 at 1:32 pm

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