18 October 2007


I've heard several people say they've felt the hand of God or the love of Christ while engaging in activities that were decidedly against church standards or frowned upon by church policy. Some take it to mean God reaching out to bring them home, while others (many) have either felt confused or have interpreted it as divine approval of their decision to, for example, pursue a same-sex relationship. I will not dispute anyone's specific, personal experience in which they felt a spiritual outpouring at a particular moment that only makes sense to them as a confirmation of the rightness of what they were doing. Those are sacred to each person. I cannot know how God deals with anyone else.

But in a general sense, and assuming these feelings are, in fact, divine manifestations and not one's own emotions, I wonder: feeling the love of God, even in the midst of sin, may not be an acceptance or confirmation of correctness of the deviation from the path laid out by doctrine as much as a beautiful example and sampling of the unconditional nature of that love. I have wondered, at times, why it is that we sometimes reject love offered (from family or friends who reach out) or refuse to let it into our hearts, and I think it's often because of the strings that are perceived to be attached to that love. While divine approbation of behavior or decisions typically comes from obedience to eternal truth, and forgiveness comes freely and without merit but with a contract, the "pure love of Christ" which people feel is hard to reject because the love itself is offered with no strings attached. "I love you, just as you are." No need, in the moment, to correct behavior, or to inflict poignant consequence of transgression. The important message, possibly the only one in that moment which will fully sink in and leave an indelible impression, is that radiant love without qualifications or caveats.

No comments: