Does God love me less when I mess up?

Dear Mosaic Boston Family,

Half a century ago, the psychologist Carl Rogers suggested that simply loving our children isn't enough--we have to love them unconditionally, for who they are, not for what they do. As children (and as parents) we intuitively know this to be true. We also know how rare truly unconditional love is, even in the most sacred relationships. 

In 2004, three leading experts on the psychology of motivation, Avi Assor, Guy Roth, and Edward L. Deci, conducted a study in which they asked hundreds of college students whether the love they had received from their parents seemed to depend on whether they had succeeded in school, sports, or extracurricular activities. The researches found that children who received conditional approval were indeed somewhat more likely to act as the parent want. However, the compliance came at a steep price. The psychologists wrote: "First, these children tended to resent and dislike their parents. Second, they were apt to say that the way they acted was often due more to a 'strong internal pressure' than to 'a real sense of choice.' Moreover, their happiness after succeeding at something was usually short-lived, and they often felt guilty or ashamed."

Jesus compared our relationship with God, to a relationship with a parent. He taught us to direct our prayers "Our Father." Therefore, when Jesus talks about our obedience to God, it's nearly impossible for us not to think of our obedience to God in terms of conditional love and approval: if I'm good, God loves me; if I mess up, He shuns me. Is that the case? Also, if God loves me unconditionally, why should I obey? Why not live any way I choose, and then run home when I need Him? 

Join us tomorrow as we study Luke 6:46-49, where Jesus calls his followers to build a foundation of obedience for our lives, an obedience that is propelled by love. 

Praying for you!
Pastor Jan


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