One time, in middle school, I was crazy about this boy. I thought he was SO cute and I wanted to be his girlfriend more than anything! (Insert rolling eyes emoji here.) I got up the nerve to call him on the phone and he told me that he would "go out with me" if I would find some way to make it to his baseball game that night. (I know, stupid, right?) So, I asked just about everyone I knew to take me to the game and I finally got someone to take me.
When I got to the game, he looked shocked to see me. He did one of those double-takes and sat down in the dugout, probably embarrassed. Anyway, after the game, he didn't even come over to talk to me. Instead, he ducked his head, got his team drink from the concession stand, and left with his parents before I could even wave at him. I was so angry! The next day at school he wrote me a note and told me that he just didn't want a girlfriend right now or some nonsense you say when you don't really want to be in a relationship with someone but don't want to hurt their feelings.
What I realized through this experience (among many other things) was that love that has conditions isn't really love at all. If someone tries to string you along, it's not love, folks. It's actually probably more in the category of torture. True love is unconditional and there is one perfect example of it.
God didn't say, "If you keep my commandments, I'll love you." He didn't say, "If you love me, then I'll love you." He didn't even say, "Follow me and I'll love you."
God is a love machine (and I don't mean that in the inappropriate way you probably just took it). What I mean is that God is love (1 John 4:8). Everything that defines love defines God. So, in 1 Corinthians 13, when it says, "Love is patient, love is kind...," it's not only talking about love; it's talking about God.
Then, why do bad things happen if God loves us so much and he's patient and kind? I've wondered the answer to this very same question for a long time. What I've discovered through my studying is that bad things have nothing to do with God. The bad things that happen in our lives and in this world are a result of our own sin, the evilness of the world, or, of course, the one we don't like to give any credit to, the Enemy. In the Bible, Jesus says, "The Thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I come that you may have life and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). So, the hurricanes, the school shootings, the natural disasters, and anything else that you can possibly think of that's bad did absolutely, 100% NOT come from God. (Why people would blame bad things on God is beyond me, but that's another topic for another day.)
So now you're probably thinking, What about that seemingly vengeful, wrathful God from the Old Testament? How was he about love? Has God changed? God has not changed. The difference is the new covenant that we've made with him. When he sent Jesus, his only son, to die on the cross for all of our sins and many other things, he took out all the wrath he had left and poured it out on Jesus so that we wouldn't have to have it poured out on us. Even though his son was perfect and we are so not, he sacrificed him for us. He didn't say, "I'll sacrifice him if you will just believe in me." No, he did it willingly, knowing some would never love him back, because he loves us all so incredibly much.
Putting that kind of love into practice in the real world can be really tough. It's probably easier with our family, but sometimes even with them, it's like, "What are you thinking, you knucklehead?" (You think God thinks that about us, too, sometimes?) Here, at the Loveidemic, it's this kind of love that we want to spread. No judgment. No criticisms. No conditions. We love you simply because you're people. We hope you'll spread this kind of love around your part of the world, too. Because this love, a love without conditions, is the type of love that can truly change the world.