Social media sites across China shared the recent story of a 12-year-old boy who was beaten and abandoned by his mother.
Hurt and Abandoned
It appears that the unidentified woman had just picked up her son from school. When she learned that his recent test score was only 81 out of 100–instead of 95 or better–she became enraged. There, on the streets of Luoyang City, she stopped the car, pulled her son out, beat him and drove away. Some closed-circuit security cameras recorded the event.
Passers-by notified Police, who found him several hours later, disoriented and wandering the streets in the Gucheng district. When they phoned the boy’s mom, she replied, “I don’t want him anymore. You can do whatever you want with him. You can even charge me.” The boy’s uncle finally came to the police and took him home.
School examinations are a huge thing in China, often determining future career opportunities. Therefore, children are under tremendous pressure to do well. While it’s understandable that a parent might be disappointed in their child for a less-than-perfect score, this mother’s reaction was abominable.
God Never Stops
I share this story only to say that we should never believe that this, in any way, characterizes our relationship with our heavenly Father. God’s love for us is not performance-based. God does not love us based upon how well we keep His commandments or measure up to His standards. God’s love is based on His own character and nature. God Himself is love, we are told in 1 John 4:8.
God loves the high-achiever. But He also loves the disabled child who will never learn to do so much as feed or clean himself. Besides, the high-achiever only achieves because of the gifts, abilities, and motivation God has given him or her.
The wonderful side of this equation is that God will never stop loving us because He will never change. Even though we will grow old, weak, and ugly, God will never do so or ever stop loving us. He will love us no matter what our condition or performance may be.
But God’s love for us is also based on another reality. It is this, that He created us in His own image (Genesis 1:26–27). There is something of Himself that He sees in us, something that makes Him take pleasure in us. Certainly, we have been damaged and stained by sin, but that image has not been entirely lost (Genesis 9:6; Acts 17:29). And while some may claim that God’s love only extends to a favored few, Jesus was quite clear on this point. He said, “God so loved the world,” sinners included (John 3:16). It has to be so. For the world consists of nothing but sinners (Romans 3:9–23). All of us, Paul said in Ephesians 2:3 are “children of wrath, even as the rest” of humanity.
And this love was not merely expressed in God’s provision of a habitable planet, with food to feed us and sunshine to warm us. Jesus said that God so loved the world “that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God’s love for us is redemptive love. It’s love that takes us from our fallen, corrupted state and ultimately glorifies us into the image of Jesus.
Love for All
That the scope of God’s redemptive love extends to all humanity is clear from the fact that Jesus is called “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The same biblical writer tells us that Jesus is the “propitiation” (literally, “satisfaction”—the sacrifice that satisfies God’s holy justice) for our sins. But not only our sins, but also for the whole world (1 John 2:2).
So God loves both sinners and saints. God loves the church-goer and He loves the deeply perverted sinner. When He walked the earth Jesus turned neither of them away. This so disturbed His enemies that they accused Jesus of being “a friend of sinners” (Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34). Thank God for that. We all need Christ’s friendship and love.
Nor, at any time when He walked the earth, did Jesus ever excommunicate a disciple or fire an apostle. Jesus did not even dismiss Judas, who was planning to betray Him. This is love too great for us to comprehend. Yet Paul the apostle prayed that we would be able to grasp—with all the saints—what is the height, depth, length, and breadth of God’s love (Ephesians 3:18–19).
No. God will never abandon us for our failures. His love will never depart from us. But remember this. If God is to ever make us fit for heaven, then He’s got to save and transform us. God loves us too much to leave us in our sinful state. Yet if we persist in our rejection of His Son—the only sacrifice for sins—what else can God do on judgment day, but condemn us? Yes, God will even love us when He is forced to judge us. What excuse could we possibly give for neglecting and ignoring God’s love for our entire lifetime?
Dear Father in heaven, please open my eyes to Your infinite and unfailing love. Help me to see that I am as safe and secure in Your love as a newborn babe in the arms of his mother. Help me, O God, to never ignore, neglect, or scorn Your love in any way. I could commit no greater tragedy than that. Therefore, save me and keep me close to Your heart, Father, by Your tender love for me. Amen.
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