At West End United Methodist Church our #1 Bedrock Belief is a simple and profound statement.
“We believe God loves everyone unconditionally.”
That is the first one, the top of our list, and it is profoundly important. When we worship and follow a God that we believe loves everyone, it should dramatically inform how we interact with the world. Think about it, what are the consequences of believing that our God loves everyone unconditionally? To me, it seems that the absolute worst consequence of embracing this bedrock belief is that more love flows across creation; and, at best that lives and communities might truly be transformed by God’s grace.
Genesis tells us that we are created in God’s image. So understanding important attributes of God’s image becomes critically important to our response and our spiritual growth. By embracing God’s love for all, we begin down a path of recognizing that God’s primary attribute is that of loving outside of God’s self for the good of those God loves. Just look at the 3rd Chapter in the Gospel of John,
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…”.
The nature of God’s love is best demonstrated in the Christ figure, in the way God gives freely and intimately of God’s self for the ultimate long term good of those God loves – the world.
So maybe loving the way God loves is as simple as being able to move outside of ourselves for the ultimate long term good of others. Sounds simple enough, right? OK, then how do we go about it in a world ordered by other more selfish rules, and where our culture celebrates those who are best at giving less and taking more?
Well, since we are created in God’s image, our spiritual growth is contingent on recognizing and accepting God’s love for us because without that important first step, we cannot break the patterns of selfishness and narcissism that run rampant in our world. By recognizing and opening ourselves to God’s love for us, God empowers to love those God loves – i.e.: everyone else.
Embracing an all-encompassing understanding of God’s love, should over time create in us the ability to view all people as beloved children of God. When we begin to realize others as God’s beloved, we can begin to respond appropriately. In its simplest terms, we can honor God in the way we treat others. The image of God we worship really does make a difference. Thank you West End United Methodist for understanding how important loving the way God loves can be in contributing to a better world.