I read a quote recently that really made me think. An unidentified missionary in Russia was quoted as having said that God loves us just as we are but that He also loves us too much to let us stay that way. Initially, this statement seemed contradictory and I questioned its theological accuracy. It, at first, sounded as though it reduced God’s immeasurable love for us to the somewhat questionable claims of love we hear (and speak) almost daily from (or to) family, friends, even virtual strangers. How often is a greeting card signed “love,” or an email closed with “love you?” How many times have you heard those “three little words” while on date with someone you’ve only barely come to know and thus assumed that they were perhaps a “means to an end” rather than a true expression of sentiment?
On the other hand, giving the quote a second thought, I find myself thinking of my childhood. As children, we were constantly surrounded by our parents, grandparents, teachers, etc., who accepted us as we were and then reprimanded us as well, expecting something more. What was this? It was their love for us manifesting itself in the effort to teach us to grow in understanding, and to keep us safe from harm. If our earthly mentors can love us this much, how much more can our Heavenly Father love us? He did, after all, give us His only son who died on a cross to save us from ourselves, and gave us His Holy Spirit to reside in us, to guard us, and to guide us in all we do.
We are the mirrors of that amazing love to the world. What a gift this is! How humbling to be given such a privilege to serve Him in this way! When we accept this commission, those three little words “I love you” are no longer a casual statement in the way our society has so often used them. Rather, we realize that they represent a blessing given to us, and one which we must share with others. This amazing love is indeed a gift and when we share it, we are twice blessed!