this weekend was discovery weekend with the youth at church. casey and i both volunteered (this is our 3rd year in a row). i was a group leader and casey was a group leader and in the band. it was fun. the theme was “discovering god’s love through scripture.” we focused on being created by and connected to god. at one point someone mentioned god’s unconditional love and how we can’t even comprehend it. it got me thinking.
for me, the best earthly example of unconditional love and the best comparison i can think of to god’s unconditional love is the love that dogs have for their owners.
- they don’t abide by social standards: they don’t sit around saying “i’d like an owner with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a slender build” or “i’d like my owner to drive a fancy car and live in a fancy house.” they don’t care how much money you have, what you look like, how successful you are, whether or not you have a college degree, etc. as long as you take good care of them (and probably even if you don’t) they love you just the way you are.
- they don’t judge you: they don’t care if you skip a shower and smell (they’d probably actually love you more), they won’t tell if you help yourself to another serving of ice cream after your husband has gone to bed (right ellie and bella??), you can act like an idiot in front of them and they don’t care. they love you just the way you are.
- they forgive you…for anything: if you forget to feed them, if you don’t take them on walks as much as you should, if you push their faces away and yell at them when they are just trying to cuddle, if it’s 30 degrees outside and you forget they are out there for an hour, etc. the second they see you they forgive and forget. i’ve seen extreme cases on animal cops of dogs that have suffered neglect, starvation, and abuse and despite all of that they remain loyal and faithful and loving towards humans.
- they give their lives to protect us: i’ve heard so many stories of dogs risking their lives and sometimes giving them to protect their families. without question or hesitation. they do what they do because they love you.
in the same way, god doesn’t care if you are ugly, fat, rich, poor, successful, uneducated, beautiful, etc. those things don’t matter to him. he created you and that makes you perfect just the way you are…and he loves you for that. he doesn’t judge you for and dwell on your mistakes. he understands that you make them and he forgives and forgets. there’s nothing you could ever do that he wouldn’t forgive or that could make him stop loving you.
on one hand, i clearly understand that the love god has for me is a million times more complex than the love that bella and ellie have for me. but on the other hand, it is such a simple and obvious love and my dogs help me understand it and rationalize it.
ok that’s all.