God demonstrates his love in different ways to his children. If a child is in rebellion, he may demonstrate his compassion with chastisement to bring her back to repentance. If a child is living by faith, God may demonstrate love with a deeper intimacy in her prayer life. God’s love will continue toward his children, but how that love is experienced may be conditional.
Perhaps we ask this question because we think we have to bargain with God to stay on his good side. We may think we’ve gone so far off track that God no longer loves us. No, God will always love his children, even when they are wayward. Jesus gave us a lovely example of this with the story of the Prodigal Son.
In that story, recounted in Luke 15:11-32, a young man leaves his father with his inheritance, which he then spends foolishly until he had spent it all. In shame he gets a job feeding pigs, which is an unclean animal to the Jews.
God’s love is like this father’s love. His love is unconditional in that he does not stop loving when his son turns from what’s best. But it is conditional in that we receive the greatest blessings of his love when we walk with him in faith and obedience. Which kind of love do you want God to show you?
What Do You Think?
a. If you are a parent who loves her child, would you still love your child if she disobeys you? Why or why not?
b. What is the difference between “love” and “tough love”?