Despite my dislike for a lot of modern Christian music I still listen to Air1 radio on my drive to work (which is all of 5-10 minutes). I’ve learned to accept what the play as mostly “positive” music with some Jesus mixed in. In fact, their tagline is “The Positive Alternative”, alternative being code word for “Christian”.
One thing I have noticed a lot of lately, and not just on Air1, but with some other Christians as well, is the use of the term “reckless love” when describing the love of God. Exactly what does this mean, and why is the term being tossed around so much?
First off lets take a look at the definition of the word “reckless”:
Reckless – Adjective
(of a person or their actions) without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action.
In looking the word up on BibleGateway.com the word appears zero times in the KJV, 2 times in the NKJV, 5 times in the NIV, 4 times in the NLT, 4 times in the NASB, 10 times in the MSG, and 11 times in the AMP. For the record I use the KJV and occasionally the NKJV myself, but these other bible translations came to mind as ones I have seen others using before.
Now, not in any of these previous bible verses, in any of the selected versions, is the word “reckless” used in reference to the love of God, but are typically describing human behavior, and bad behavior at that!
So, is Gods love “reckless” when it comes to us? Does God not care about the consequences of His actions, so long as we know He loves us?
Probably the best example I can muster to describe what a reckless Gods love would look like would be the M. Night Shyamalan film, Signs. The subject of the film (spoilers ahead) is a priest played by Mel Gibson who has lost his faith after the death of his wife. Before her death she tells him something that doesn’t make sense at the moment, but by the end of the film it makes perfect sense as does his families odd habits and behaviors as they work together to fight off an alien invasion (yes, you read that right). The final shot of the film is Gibson’s character putting his vestments back on, his faith restored.
I’ve seen the film one time and I distinctly remember, at that last scene, thinking “So God did all that to rescue the faith of a single man?”
This, to me, would be the “reckless love” of a reckless God, that He would allow the entire world to succumb to an alien invasion and for countless people to die and suffer so that one man can have his faith restored. It even sounds silly when you say it, despite the alien angle.
Recklessness does not fit God’s character.
When I was younger, in high school, my then girlfriend (currently my wife) and I broke up. I was heartbroken! My friend and I, in the dead of night, visited her apartment (she still lived with her parents at the time) where I left a pile of roses and a love note on her doorstep in a (successful) attempt to get her to reconsider her reasons for the breakup and stay with me.
Reckless love. The stuff dumb teenage boys are made of.
Again, does not fit Gods character.
God is not a lovesick teenage boy begging for attention, and nowhere in scripture is He described as such. And neither is His son, Jesus.
A concept in the church, as of late, is that of “boyfriend Jesus”. Boyfriend Jesus loves you extravagantly, madly and…RECKLESSLY! He is willing to do whatever it takes to win your heart and wants to bury you in acts of love so you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he loves you! Christian music is probably the worst purveyor of the BFJ concept as a lot of “worship music” can easily be mistaken for a syrupy song between lovers! The problem is that Jesus is not your boyfriend nor does He want to be!
Boyfriend is a fancy and nice way of saying “indentured servant”. If you have ever been a boyfriend to a girl you know its true! Boyfriends have zero authority over their girlfriends and instead must maintain their relationship by maintaining the high of “love” through actions like dates, gifts and trips! If he wants to stay in his girlfriends good graces he must become one who serves a purpose to her, since, because she has no real commitment to him, she can leave at any moment if she finds someone she deems better! If you have a teenage daughter with a boyfriend take time to watch their interaction! I myself have had to get onto my daughter before about her attitude with her boyfriend and remind her, and him, that he is not her chauffer, her delivery service or her bank card. The problem is that he hasn’t been raised in a home with a father and so to him catering to a woman is fine, he has been doing it for ages with his mother.
Jesus is our lord and master, not a boyfriend, so why try to pass him off as such? Well, turning Jesus into a boyfriend makes it easier for Western churches and women to break the chain of command set by God where men (again husbands and fathers) have been given authority over the women in their lives! It allows them to reframe the roll of Christ and thus reframe the role of men. Men are constantly pushed by Western churches to emulate Christ and to love their wives as Christ loved the church. By bending the way Jesus is perceived from “master” to “boyfriend” it becomes easier to convince men to give up their positions of authority by encouraging them to relegating them down from “master” status back to “boyfriend” status, and, thus, “servant” status! And any man who has been to a Western church at some point in the past couple of decades will tell you that the push for men to be leaders by being servants is a hot topic!
The message of Gods love is not one of recklessness. Gods love is an offer ready for the taking, but He will not hunt you down and do “whatever it takes” to make you love him. The message of the shepherd that abandons all of his sheep to go find the one that is lost needs to be understood with this in mind: The lost sheep is already part of the shepherds flock! He is not hunting down sheep and enticing them to join him! He is not recklessly searching! God knows where we are, who we are and our every thought! Think of the shepherd as one who sees his stray sheep far off and seeks to recover it, that is how God sees us who are lost. We are not out of His sight. Would the shepherd, seeing his lost sheep across a gorge, recklessly run off the edge and into a ditch? Why would God act recklessly when He is in control of the wind, the waves and every thing that is created?’
I think the concept of a “reckless love” God is foolish and dangerous, as such behavior is counter to what the bible says Gods character is. God does have a great love for us, so much so that He allowed His only son to be sacrificed that we might not be condemned to hell, but this was not a reckless move, but a plan constructed since before the foundations of the earth were laid!
What do you think?