God’s love is unconditional and unfailing despite our imperfections. There is nothing we can do to earn God's love, and nothing we can do to lose it.
People may say that they love their jobs, their truck, their new hat, or even a new song on their iPod. They may tell an acquaintance “Love ya” or they may fall in love at first sight. There is “love” in tennis when the score is zero, and love and sex are often confused.
With all of these mixed messages about love, it can be difficult to understand the real meaning of love. According to the Bible, there is no greater love than the love expressed through Christ and his sacrifice on the cross (John 15:13).
In his book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning tells the story of Dr. Richard Selzer, who visited a couple after surgery in which he had to remove a tumor from the wife’s cheek. The story is a touching illustration of Christ’s compassionate love for imperfect people:
“I stand by the bed where a young woman lies, her face postoperative, her mouth twisted in palsy, somewhat clownish. A tiny twig of the facial nerve, the one to the muscles of her mouth, had been severed.
She will be this way from now on. I had followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh; nevertheless, to remove the tumor in her cheek, I had to cut the little nerve.
Her young husband is in the room. He stands on the opposite side of the bed and together they seem to dwell in the evening lamplight, isolated from me, the moment is a private one. Who are they, I ask myself. He and this wry mouth I have made, who gaze at each other so generously, so lovingly?
The young woman speaks. 'Will my mouth always be like this?’ she asks. 'Yes, I say, it will. It is because the nerve was cut.'
She nods and is silent. But the young man smiles. I like it,' he says, 'It’s kind of cute.'
At once I know who he is. I understand and I lower my gaze. One is not bold in an encounter with a God moment.
Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth and I am so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate to hers, to show her that their kiss still works.”
In love, the Perfect God bent to kiss imperfect humanity when He died on the cross. When we know there is nothing we can do to earn His love as well as nothing we can do to lose it, we have a security that settles into our souls--a confidence that people cannot take away, and one that not even job loss, divorce, sickness, or surgery can threaten.
There is nothing like the freedom that comes from knowing you are loved by God in spite of your imperfections.