Home > Understanding God's Love > Understanding God’s Love – Part I: We Suck

Understanding God’s Love – Part I: We Suck

I have so many conversations with people, people who desire and love God, who are struggling hard in life because they don’t understand God’s love for them. They are missing key componential comprehensions that enable us to know the love of God. I am one of these people. All too often in my life there have been gaps in my heart’s understanding of God’s love, caused by my debaucherous and pertinacious self, that have left me wanting. The following notes discuss the areas where my misunderstandings have perniciously affected my life.

This is the least enjoyable part of understanding God’s love. People think highly of themselves. Almost always. And when they don’t, they want to, they long to, and they try to do things that allow them to think well of themselves. Our natural inclination is toward hubristic self-confidence. Because of all our ingrained insecurities we desperately want to see ourselves as good people. We think that in spite of the bad things people do, at heart humans are generally pretty decent. It all sounds swell, but it is a gross prevarication.

We’re afraid to admit the truth because the truth is overwhelmingly opprobrious. Humanity is messed up. Our hearts are tainted, dirty, sinful, deplorable. We are so full of selfishness, conceit, and impurity. I am, you are. I don’t deny that there is good in us. I don’t deny that most people desire sublimity. However, the sad reality is that the good in us is contaminated and because of our actions and the motivations of our heart, we deserve the wrath of God. Acknowledging this is difficult on many levels. What if I’m not a genuinely good person? What if my very soul is depraved? Where then is my worth? Who could love me?

The reality is that we are bad people. This, my friends, is step one. We have to admit that our hearts are vitiated. Our very natures are sinful and disgusting. Refrain from expostulation, rationalizing your actions, writing off your failings as mere foibles, and engaging in comparisons. Accept that you don’t deserve love, because you don’t. In doing so, you can begin to understand just how powerful and magnificent the love of God is – seeing through our marring sinfulness and into the core of our being, engraved with His image.

Man is in no danger of taking too much from himself, provided he learns that whatever he wants is to be recovered in God. But he cannot arrogate to himself one particle beyond his due, without losing himself in vain confidence, and, by transferring divine honour to himself, becoming guilty of the greatest impiety. – John Calvin Institutes… 2.II.10

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