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North American Porcupine, Erethizon dorsatum, also known as Canadian Porcupine or Common Porcupine

God Loves the Unlovable

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The Greek poet Ovid said, “If you want to be loved, be loveable.”

That sums up society’s conditional love.

Think of how we treat celebrities. The public’s love of celebrities is very fickle, depending entirely on what they do:

“To be considered famous or have celebrity status doesn’t just involve being in a bunch of films or recording a lot of songs. It involves how active you are in the spotlight, how in demand you are, how many seats you sell out. This cushy life can be taken away at any moment. One wrong move and your fans will disappear as quickly as they appeared.”

Celebrities are celebrated one day and become outcasts the next. Why? Because the world’s love is thoroughly conditional and performance-based. It’s "love" is a response to what it sees as valuable in other people. If you see something you admire in someone, then you love them.

For example, if an actor is handsome or an actress is beautiful, we love them.

We shower someone with admiration and affection if they can sing with emotion, run fast, or throw a ball far.

But when their beauty, ability, and prosperity fade, so does the public’s love. Just as Ovid said, we only love loveable people.

But God’s love is different.

He doesn’t love you in response to a value that He finds in you, as if you had to be worthy of His love (in which case, we'd all be lost!). Instead, He loves you because He is love. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist in a Trinitarian communion of love.

And God’s love is creative. Just as He created the world out of nothing—ex nihilo—He also loves out of nothing. He makes you loveable from nothing. Just as He declares ungodly people to be righteous, He also declares unloveable people to be loved. And that, by the way, is why you can be secure in God’s love. Nothing you can do can separate yourself from God's love in Christ. As Paul said,

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:38-39).

Being loved by God in this way then changes your motivation to love others. As C. S. Lewis noted, "Divine Gift-love in the man enables him to love what is not naturally lovable: lepers, criminals, enemies, morons, the sulky, the superior and the sneering" (The Four Loves, p. 117). God's gracious love for you begets your gracious love for others, no matter how unlovable they may be.

Thought for the day: Since you’re already loved, be loveable.


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