Does God love only Christians?
Does this question even need to be asked? Unfortunately, yes, because there is an impression out there that that He does. I encounter it in innuendo and assumption. I encounter it in myself and the attitudes caught from a strongly Pharisaical upbringing, and I have found it to be an attitude that is hard to shake.
The way this usually works is that God doesn’t love anyone I don’t love, and the human inclination is to not love anyone who is not like me. That makes God’s love an extension of myself, instead of the way it should be, with me as an extension of God and His love. I have much to learn about God’s love. I am the one who needs to change. I am the one who needs to learn to love like God.
“God is love” (1 John 4:16), says John. God is synonymous with love. How could God not love His entire creation? It is His nature to love.
“God so loved the world that He gave…” (John 3:16).
The tragedy of God’s love is that it is not universally received. “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him” (John 1:11). What a tragedy. Do you think God feels that tragedy? Personally, I think that is why the prophet Isaiah called Him a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. That is why Jesus wept over Jerusalem; because He wanted to gather everyone up and bring them to Himself, but they would not all come.
How is it that God being God would create a world where His love was limited by the free will of those He created, making Him appear helpless to do anything about those who would reject Him? I honestly do not know how this works, but I do know God feels these feelings because He has expressed them in the inspired scriptures handed down to us.
My point today is not to enter into a theological debate over this, because that is where these discussions often lead, but to capture some of the nature of God in His love for us and suggest that we should at least share in these same attitudes and emotions, primarily that we should be governed more by feeling the tragedy of those who reject God’s love than in judging them or considering their wrongdoing.
Do we weep or do we condemn? If you ever catch yourself shaking your head in judgment and condemnation, stop. Stop judging and weep instead. That’s what God did, and He even has the right to judge (and will someday). The cross has put that judgment aside so that He can love. Can we do any less?
If you love like God, you will love and hurt at the same time.