Love Never Fails

Josh McDowell told thousands of kids at TeenMania, "After I became a Christian, guilt came in. I recognized God was a God of love and He wanted me to love my dad."

"The one person I hated more than anyone else in the world was my father. I despised him. To me, he was the town alcoholic. If friends were coming over, I would take my father, tie him up in the barn, and park the car up around the silo. To avoid embarrassment, we would tell our friends he had to go some where.

About five months after Josh made the decision to follow Christ, love for his father--a love from God through Jesus Christ--inundated his life. Josh said, "It turned my hatred upside down. It enabled me to look my father squarely in the eyes and say, 'Dad, I love you.' That really shook him up." While in college, Josh was in a serious accident and was taken home with his neck in traction. His father came into my room and asked, "Son, how can you love a father like me?"

Josh said, "Dad, six months ago I despised you." Then I shared with him about Jesus Christ. "Dad, I let Jesus come into my life. I can't explain it completely, but as a result of this relationship, I've found the capacity to love and accept not only you, but other people--just the way they are."

Forty-five minutes later, his father said, "Son, if God can do in my life what I've seen Him do in yours, then I want to give Him the opportunity." His father prayed with Josh and trusted Christ.

Josh's father touched alcohol only once after that. He got it as far as his lips and that was it. He didn't need it anymore.

Fortunately, Josh did not withhold his love until his father was worthy of his affection. If we had been God, we would have first sent the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin (John 16:7-11). Then when everyone was sufficiently repentant, we would have sent our son to die. But  "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). He loves us enough to express His love to us, even to die for us, before we change!

Thank You, Jesus, that with Your strength we can love others just as they are!

"Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:8).
Tullian Tchividjian said...

Legalism says God will love us if we change. The gospel says God will change us because He loves us.