David Lose tells the story of Tom's six year-old son Benjamin protesting his bedtime. Frustrated by his father's refusal to budge, Benjamin finally became so frustrated that he said, "Daddy, I hate you!" Tom, possessing the presence of mind replied, "I'm sorry you feel that way, Ben, but I love you."
To which Benjamin replied, "Don't say that!" Surprised, Tom continued, "Ben, but it's true – I love you." "Don't say that, Daddy." "But I love you, Ben." "Stop saying that, Daddy! Stop saying it right now!" And then it came: "Benjamin, now listen to me: I love you...like it or not!"
Even at six years old, you see, Benjamin realized that in the face of unconditional love he was powerless. If Tom had been willing to negotiate – "I'll love you if you go to bed nicely" – then Benjamin would be a player: "Okay, this time, but I'm not eating my vegetables at dinner tomorrow." But once Tom refused to negotiate, refused to make his love for his son conditional on something Benjamin did, then Ben couldn't do anything but accept or flee that love.
The same is true with us. God just loves us – completely and unconditionally – Did you notice that God doesn't ask our opinion about all this first. God doesn't ask our permission. God doesn't even consult us. God just goes ahead and sends the Son to die...for us.
God in Jesus has made God's decision...and it is for us. Like it or not. Yes, we can run. But we can't change the fact that God loves us, that God loves the whole God hating world more than we can imagine.
John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
God loves us- like it or not
It is not merely, God so loved me. It is not merely, for God so loved you. But God loved the whole world. That is what is so amazing. That God loved people who don’t like him, who don’t believe in him, who could care less about him. God loves the world, and the world does not love God.
God doesn’t just love the people who go to church. Not just the Christians. Not just good people who stay out of trouble. Not just you and me. But killers and rapists and murderers. And Buddhists and Muslims and Hindus. Americans and Russians and Iraqis. Catholics and Presbyterians and Baptists and Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses. The deaf, and the blind and the lame. For God SO LOVE the WORLD, the whole cosmos. Good people and bad people. White people and red people and black people and brown people and yellow people. God SO LOVED THE WORLD.
When we bring children to the baptismal font before they can offer their consent and simply immerse them in God's love- we are essentially saying the same thing. Some might ask why do we not wait until they are "of age" and can decide for themselves. But that's the heart of infant Baptism--- God adopts us, makes us God's own- whether we are ready, interested, or eager to receive it or not!
-perhaps we should add four words to our service of Baptism to highlight the offensive, scandalous nature of the sacrament: "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit...like it or not."
Like it or not you are loved so much.
You and I don’t disserve it. The world doesn’t disserve it.
This unconditional – like it or not love-
this free gift with no strings attached is called grace
During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religions had different versions of gods appearing in human form. Resurrection? Again, other religions had accounts of return from death.
The debate went on for some time until C. S. Lewis wandered into the room. “What’s the rumpus about?” he asked, and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions. Lewis responded, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.” After some discussion, the conferees had to agree.
The notion of God’s love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhist eightfold path, the Hindu doctrine of Karma, the Jewish covenant, and the Muslim code of law — each offers a way to earn approval. Only Christianity dares to make God’s love unconditional.
Once we have been loved this fully, this completely, we can respond in love, honoring God and sharing the news of God's love for the world with all we meet. There's plenty to do. But we are now messengers, witnesses to what God has done for us, not managers.
For God so love the God hating world like it or not-
This week I found the story of Northwest Airlines flight 225.
The flight crashed just after takeoff from Detroit on August 16, 1987, killing 155 people.
Only one person survived: Cecilia, four, of Tempe, Arizona.
When rescuers found Cecilia, they did not believe she had been on the plane. They thought she had been a passenger in one of the cars on the highway onto which the airliner crashed. But when the passenger list was checked, there was Cecilia’s name.
Cecilia survived because, as the plane was falling, Cecilia’s mother, Paula Chican, unbuckled her own seat belt, got down on her knees in front of her daughter, wrapped her arms and body around Cecilia, and would not let her go. Nothing could separate that child from her mother’s love — neither tragedy nor fall nor the flames that followed.
Such is the love of our Savior for us.
He left heaven, lowered himself to us, and covered us with the sacrifice of his own body to save us.
That’s how much God loves the God hating world- Like it or not.
A few years back I saw a t-shirt with the words printed on it “the most He could do is die for me--- the least I could do is live for him”