In this article, we are going to be talking about the love of God, the unconditional, wonderful, awesome and life-changing love of God! It is interesting that Christians claim to believe God loves them, but many times this knowledge is only in their heads, not their hearts. Across the board, Catholics, Protestants, and non-religious people struggle with this. They fall into fear, guilt, worry, perfectionism, and even scrupulosity.
One of the core problems of why we struggle in our relationship with Jesus/God is that we believe that the love of God is conditional, not unconditional. It is based on being good enough and having to do everything he commands of us, even if we are not conscious of that.
We erroneously believe that if we can just do everything correctly and avoid big sins, and if we dot all of our I’s and cross all of our T’s spiritually, then God will love us and be pleased with us. However, if we do not do what we are commanded, and if we sin big, or often, we mistakenly think God is mad at us, or looking down on us and shaking His head at us. Or that, He subconsciously withholds His love from us until we get our act together.
Our whole understanding and relationship with God rises and falls based on how we view our Lord and whether we understand him as a loving God or a dreadful God – an angry God in the clouds judging us, burning a hole in our soul with His eyes, and watching every single thing we do.
Does God love us when we sin?
The answer is a resounding yes, and we have to come to know who God really is. Here is the reality: God loves you in every possible situation. God loves. He loves you all the time. Not sometimes. All the time! Our Lord does not love you only when you are good, and then withdraws His love from you when you sin. Some people think that. Again, I’ve counseled many Catholics and Protestants who struggle with this. They do not feel good enough for God.
We have to understand that God is not a loving God only when you do good, and then withdraws His love when you act badly. That would be quite a fickle God. Very human. The truth is that the love of God is not dependent on how we act.
This is difficult for some people to believe and swallow. There are Christians who pray all the time and yet still wrestle with the idea that God does not love them, or is God angry with them, or disapproves of them. They think they have to earn the love of God by constantly praying rosaries or novenas or chaplets, etc.
I have spoken to so many people who confided their sins to me and who wrongly thought that I was going to judge them. However, I only loved them and did not think any differently of them. God is infinitely more loving than we are. He is infinitely more merciful than we are. He is a wonderful Father who loves us unconditionally.
The book of Romans, chapter 5, shows us the unconditional love of God. It states that even while we were in our sin, Jesus came to die for us to shed His blood for us, to suffer the most painful death for us, so that we could be with Him for all eternity. He came to save us when we were at our worst, when we didn’t have it all together, and when we were far from Him.
Jesus loves you! Our wonderful God loves what He sees when He looks at you. You are the apple of His eye. His child, His greatest care. Make no mistake. God hates sin! But he loves YOU! He hates sin in large part because it separates us from Him and He does not want to lose us for all eternity because of sin. So, again, He hates sin!! But He loves you, and God does not confuse the two!
God does not withdraw His love from us when we sin. In fact, the opposite is true. When we commit mortal sin, and even venial sins in a lesser way, we are withdrawing our love for Him. We choose other gods and other idols. He does not move away from us; we move away from Him!
His constant desire is to be with us. He yearns with a holy fire for us to come back to Him, to receive forgiveness and to be in relationship with Him again, and He is willing to do whatever it takes to work with us and help us to overcome our sins. It is to love Him again, to be reconciled to Him and not to be freaked out.
Our whole relationship is not based on whether we’re good enough or not. Maybe we can stop trying so hard to please Him and let Him work His grace in our lives. Maybe we can stop trying so hard to do every single thing perfectly. And give it up to Him. It is such a burden to have to live like a perfectionist. God knows our faults. He knows our feelings and we need to give them up to Him and let Him work His grace and His perfection into our lives. So again, God loves us and He is always calling us back into reconciliation with Him.
Some people need to stop trying so hard to “get God to love them.” Stop trying so hard and beating yourself up and banging your head against the wall and worrying day in and day out of whether you are in God’s favor. It’s maddening. We let the devil lie to us again and again about the love of God, or the “lack thereof.” So, stop! Let God love you! Let yourself be loved, forgiven, and strengthened. Stop focusing on the negativity of sin and worry, and start focusing more and trusting more in the power of God!!
St. Therese, the Little Flower, once said that if she committed all the sins of the entire world, that she would still trust in the love of Jesus and His infinite mercy. She recalls that she would run and jump in the arms of Jesus and “plunge herself” into the ocean of His divine mercy. That’s faith! That is trust! And that is what we need.
St. Thomas Aquinas once wrote that the greatest sinners have the greatest run to the mercy of God. Consequently, if you are a big sinner, then you have the greatest right to the mercy of God. Retreat master Fr. Jean Pierre said in his book, I Believe in Love, that even if you should sin one hundred times a day, God will not tire of picking you up and forgiving you one hundred and fifty times a day. He cannot be outdone in generosity or be outdone by the devil.
So run to Him every time you sin. Every time you fail, run to Him and say, “God, I did it again. Forgive me! Grant me the grace to try harder, to do better, and to focus on your strength and not my sin.”
One more side note: I have noticed so many Christians online who act anything but Christian. They are angry, hostile, rude, condemnatory, and just plain mean. These people do not know the love of God themselves and are often very hard on themselves and their own sin. For this reason, they are sarcastic and rude, mean and snarky when discussing with others or evangelizing. That doesn’t help anybody and even pushes them away from God and faith (the exact opposite of what they are trying to achieve). It is not from Christ!
God is very stern and wrathful in their eyes which is why they are harsh and rude and angry with everyone else they consider sinners. They do not show the love of God or the truth of God and His mercy. These people need to turn their lives around and repent of this. They need to completely change how they speak to people. Many of us cannot do better until we know Christ and until we know His peace. Thus, we should step back and go on a retreat. These people desperately need to find healing from God and come to trust in Him as a loving Father.
Maybe you do not need this message, but perhaps you know others who do. Share this with them.