A Poverty of Love
Sin, sin, sin, sin! If it feels to you like we’ve talked a lot about sin this week, you are right – we have.
But we have had good reason for doing so – we want to give you a new starting point when it comes to how we view sin. At the heart of that desire is the reality found in the following quote we’ve seen a couple of times now:
Jesus’ purpose in focusing on sin was about hope and restoration,
not condemnation and exclusion.
Today we are going to take a step back from the hard work of defining sin in our lives and focus on the Good News that comes through the hope and restoration Jesus has to offer through the unconditional love he has for each of us.
To begin the journey, watch this video called “A Poverty of Love.”
The primary analogy in the video is that because of our sins (there is that word again), we often find ourselves pushed out of relationships – both with other humans and with God. This leads us to experience a poverty of love and we become something like a homeless beggar, looking for the security that can only be found in knowing we are loved.
The trouble is that we often think we can find the love we are looking for in things that can be measured and appreciated by others.
The truth is that our search for these things is really a search for approval, which is usually both conditional and temporary.
What we really desire is something more secure, more permanent, and less conditional. That desire can only be met through an authentic, unconditional love, but the question is:
Does unconditional love really exist?
In short – YES.
The problem is that in order to find it, we must begin looking beyond the conditional, temporary things of this world. We must begin looking for that love in God.
In this video, author Rebekah Lyons talks about how she learned a powerful lesson about the nature of unconditional love. A lesson taught by her son, who was born with Down Syndrome.
With that story in mind, consider the following:
- What circumstances in your life have you seen something like
- How would it change your perspective on relationships or your
behavior if you knew that you'd be loved because of who
you are, not what you do?
- Are you willing to give up striving to prove your worth? If so,
what steps do you need to take to accept someone's
One of the basics tenets of Christianity is the idea of God’s unconditional love as it is expressed through Jesus Christ. Yet, even though we know that love is there we often resist, push back at, or even reject that love.
In other words, we sin! It’s hard to escape that word, isn’t it?
In this last video for this session, we hear from a mother who learned through her adopted son a valuable lesson about how God responds to our tendency to reject God’s love.
Consider the following:
- Why does receiving unconditional love seem so unlikely?
- How does our experience of love in life affect our perception of
God's ability to love us?
- What might it be like to hear God speak these words about you:
"I will not quit pursuing you, loving you, sacrificing for you"?
Let’s end this conversation by returning to our starting point for the session. We are indeed a people who often suffer from a poverty of love.
Yes, we experience love in some ways, but even the best earthly love can leave us feeling insecure and worried that if we don’t measure up, that love may end.
But God’s love is not like that.
It is truly unconditional.
Over and over again, Jesus met people where they were – broken, defeated, shunned, condemned, and excluded by their sins. Yet Jesus did not reject them. Instead he loved them – he REALLY loved them.
Through that experience of authentic and unconditional love, those once broken people were given hope and restored life.
They were brought home!
Our hope is that regardless of where you are on the journey, you know that God loves you unconditionally. You have a home in God through the love given by Jesus Christ.
Once we accept that love for ourselves, the call is to go and share it with others. A good starting point for that journey is to find the people this world often condemns and excludes. After all, that is what Jesus did…
If you want to dig deeper into this topic, we recommend the following resources:
Read Romans 7:14-26 and Romans 8:1-8
Check out this sermon series by Andy Stanley on the nature of sin the unconditional love of God.
Consider reading The Magicians Nephew by C.S. Lewis. You can find a description of the book by clicking here.
If you have a thought to share or question to ask, feel free to post a comment below. We'd love to hear from you!