Isn't it "backwards" how our human minds work sometimes? The way we think is very limited.... because it's the ONLY way we know how to think. It's consequential, circumstancial, and conditional. Totally opposite from the way God thinks- especially when it comes to Love.
For example, on our way back to the office today, we somehow got on the topic of God basically "punishing" you for saying something wrong, not meeting a certain obligation, sinning, ect and having been in the mindset before ourselves that, for example, if we called in "sick" to work one day and actually felt just fine, then God might plaque us with a nasty illness the next day to "pay us back." I believe this couldn't be farther from the truth. I believe there are REAL and sometimes AWFUL consequences to sin (as well as a wealth of JOY and Blessings missed by not living a life obedient to God's will) and that a believer will experience those consequences just as a non-believer would. But even as we suffer the consequences of our actions or decisons, God's love for us has never ever changed.
Not a bit.
Richard A. Strauss wrote the following~ "There is not one good thing in any of us that merits God’s love. He does not love us because we are so lovable or because we can somehow make ourselves worthy of His love. We are totally unworthy, yet He prizes us highly and showers His very best on us. It is His love for us that gives us our worth. God finds great delight and receives great glory when we respond to His love, enter His fellowship, and do His will. In fact, He made us for that purpose. But whether or not we ever return His love, He keeps on extending it to us. There is nothing we can do to make Him love us any more, and nothing we ever do will cause Him to love us any less. He loves us perfectly and completely regardless of how we perform. His love is unconditional.
So many of us are performance oriented. We have felt approved and accepted when we have performed to someone else’s satisfaction, and disapproved and rejected when we have failed to live up to their standards. Consequently, we treat others the same way. If they please us, we treat them kindly and considerately. If they displease us, we feel justified in treating them unkindly and unlovingly. Knowing God intimately will help us express love to others when they do not perform to our expectations.
There is a great Biblical illustration of God’s unconditional love in His relationship with the nation Israel. “The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). Can we see what He is implying? There is no human reason for His love for Israel. They were a rebellious, stiff-necked people. But He loved them simply because He loved them.
That is how it is with you and me. He loves us just because He loves us. Nothing we ever did made Him love us, so nothing we ever do will make Him stop loving us. He loves us when we’re grouchy just as much as when we’re glad. He loves us when we sin just as much as when we don’t. He loves us when we open our mouths and say things we know we shouldn’t have said. He loves us when our wives or husbands or parents or children are not treating us as though they love us. He loves us when we’re feeling as though nobody in the whole world loves us. He loves us even when we don’t like ourselves. He never stops loving us."
Lesson learned: God's love is never earned but always freely given. Try to love others the way God loves you!
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).