I was having a conversation with some friends on Sunday afternoon, and one of them made a comment that caught me off guard. The comment? God loves us, His children, but He doesn’t love everyone. By this statement, he meant not everyone will spend eternity in heaven; some people will spend eternity in darkness, separated from God.
While I know it’s true many people will not be in heaven, I am bothered by the conclusion he made that God doesn’t love the people who are not “His children.” There is so much going on around the world right now, and it would be easy to think God doesn’t love this person or that group of people. But God IS love. He cannot choose not to love people – even when they choose not to reciprocate His love – because it would mean denying His own character.
God loves each person on this planet the same amount. The only difference is whether His love brings Him joy or pain. He is not willing that ANY should perish, and I believe He weeps over every life lost without being surrendered to Him.
The part my friend must find difficult to reconcile is how God could love someone and still condemn them to eternity in darkness. The simple answer is: He doesn’t. It is because of His love for people that He gives us free will to choose Him or not. If a person wants nothing to do with God while on earth, how would it be loving to force His presence on them for eternity?
Each of us chooses our eternal destination by deciding whether we want a relationship with God or not. In His love, He gives us that choice. When the choice is made to accept His love and love Him in return, there is a party in heaven. When the choice is made to reject God’s love, He weeps for the one who rejects Him. He loves them still, and it breaks His heart that He cannot be with them forever.
Nearly every time I open Facebook or see a news story, it seems hate fills so much of our world. Even among people who follow Jesus, it appears so often that lines are drawn and sides are taken. Races, jobs, political parties, religions, and on and on it goes. So many barriers to unity are being built with words and ideas that are harder to break through than any brick.
God doesn’t take sides. Despite what my friend says, God does love everyone. I want to be more like Him. I don’t know exactly what that looks like in the midst of the messes surrounding us, but I want to learn. I want to seek Him for solutions and receive His grace to love as He loves. I want to see the best in others and forgive when the worst becomes evident. I want to bear, believe, hope and endure all things.
Who’s with me?