So last week I talked about how we are God’s children – we can choose to believe that or not, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a fact. But what, other than our perspective, is changed by knowing that we are God’s children? And does He really love all of His children? ALL of them?
Yeah. He does.
Maybe that’s hard to believe. I’ve met people who struggle with this idea. And sometimes it’s easy to believe that God could love everyone else, but you (me, whoever) is the exception to that infinite love.
Any belief that says God’s love is limited in any way is a toxic belief. And believing that God’s love is finite can decrease the love we feel for others as well. After all, if God doesn’t love me, you, that person over there, why should I love myself, you, or that person? We’re not better than God. We can’t be. So if His love is finite, ours is significantly more limited than His love could be.
Luckily, God’s love is infinite (read: limitless, endless, impossible to measure, and it just goes on). His love reaches everyone. Every race. Every gender. Every religion. Every political party. Even your annoying neighbor is loved by God.
How do we know that? After all, sometimes it seems like certain groups are favored over others, right?
Well, God’s infinite love reaches people in various ways. Let’s look at a few:
God Shares Truth With All People
A couple of years ago, I took a class in college called World Religions. And because I went to BYU-Idaho, we looked at these other religions from the perspective of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
And it was fascinating.
Something we talked about in the class was that, because of God’s infinite love, He gives truth to all of His children – to the extent that they are willing to accept it. So some people receive the gospel in its complete fullness. While others are given the parts God knows they’ll accept in the hope that it will prepare them to receive more truth as they learn.
Which is why, if you learn about the basic beliefs of most religions, you’ll find a lot of similarities. Christianity and Judaism, of course, have lots in common, but Christianity also has some surprising similarities to religions like Hinduism and Buddhism.
This class impressed me with the beliefs other religions have, so I decided to broaden my horizons more and read scriptures from another religion.
I picked Hinduism. During the class, we’d had to read excerpts from Hindu scripture. I’d loved it, so since then, I’ve read the Bhagavad Gita sporadically. I wish I had read it more consistently, but even with my sporadic reading, I recently finished reading it.
I had expected to find a couple of things throughout that related to my religious beliefs, but I never expected to find so much correlation. That’s not to say that there aren’t differences – there are definite differences between Hinduism and Christianity – but beliefs about how to live, the kind of relationship a person can have with God (though Hindus have some different beliefs of who God is), and the clear line between good and evil were all similar, if not the same, to what we believe as Christians.
Now, as a Christian, I couldn’t help but draw these parallels. I’m sure others might view this a bit differently. But the similarities I found strengthened my testimony of God’s infinite love for all of His children. He teaches them truth so they can come closer to Him.
To me, the wide reach of truth bringing people closer to God in many forms is a symbol of God’s love. He loves all of us, so He goes to whatever lengths He can to encourage His children to learn of Him and accept Him into their lives.
God Uses Specific Groups to Reach Others
The Bible is one of the most read religious texts in the world. It focuses on one particular group of people: the Israelites/House of Israel. These are referred to as God’s chosen people throughout the entire Bible.
So it can be pretty easy to look at the Bible and say, “If the Israelites are God’s chosen people, then they’re the ones He loves most.”
But that isn’t necessarily true. The way I see it, God’s chosen people are the ones expected to live His laws and to teach others about Him as well. It doesn’t mean that they are better than other people, or better loved, but it means that God expects them to do what He asks them to do.
And when the Israelites don’t do those things, it doesn’t end well for them. After all, they were captured and enslaved various times because they wouldn’t listen to God. (God didn’t do this out of vengeance, by the way. It was simply the consequence of their actions, and God told them exactly what would happen if they kept not listening to them. And He told them how to avoid that happening. So it seems to be warranted, though pretty sad to see.)
But when the Israelites, later called the Jews as the Israelites were scattered around the world, did listen to God, they were able to further His work among other people. This becomes especially true after Jesus is resurrected and ascends into heaven, leaving Peter and the apostles to teach the gospel to the world. The reach of these faithful missionaries was greater than any effort had been up to that point.
Even now, we see missionaries from many churches sharing their beliefs to others. This all helps to bring people closer to God. God’s infinite love is shared through His people, so as we see people teaching of Christ, we can recognize that as God reaching out to His Children in love.
God Challenges Us So We Can Grow
So we’ve talked about ways that God shows His love for groups of people throughout the world. He doesn’t leave it at that though. God cares about us as individuals too.
Sometimes that love is shown through feelings of peace and comfort, and sometimes through tangible blessings. And sometimes it’s shown through challenges.
God asks us to grow and progress. As His children, we can become like Him, so staying stagnant and doing nothing are not pleasing to Him. He wants to see us become better because He knows the potential we have to be more than we are now.
But growing isn’t always fun. Do you remember the aches you’d get in your body as a kid when you’d hit a growth spurt? Or the sharp pain you feel even weeks after an injury as the tissue grows and heals?
It hurts. It always does. But after the pain, you find that you’ve reached new heights or gained strength as you’ve healed.
The challenges we face can be internal, but sometimes they can be external. The world doesn’t always like what the people of God believe, and with Satan’s encouragement, the world attacks our beliefs. This too is a sign of God’s love, as John said,
1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.1 John 3:1, King James Version
Growth can be a lot of hard knocks and stress, but it pays off when you see how you have changed. God knows how difficult it can be, but He knows better than we do how far we can go, so He pushes us, puts us under strain, and lifts us higher.
God Died for Us
An article about God’s love can’t really pass without talking about Christ’s Atonement. This sacrifice for us is the ultimate expression of love for God’s children.
I’m talking about this one last because, in my opinion, it’s the most abstract portrayal of love on this list. We don’t know exactly how the Atonement of Christ worked, but we do know the effects of it.
We know that we have the chance to return to our Father in Heaven because of the Atonement of Christ. And really, every other demonstration of love I’ve mentioned in this article is only possible and purposeful because Christ willingly gave His life for our continual growth and repentance.
Christ’s Atonement is offered to everyone, but using it is conditional on our choice to follow Christ. His love was great enough that the Atonement could reach everyone if they would choose to do that.
Before He died, Jesus taught,
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.John 15:13, King James Version
He proved this with His own sacrifice. And as the gospel, teaching Christ’s Atonement, reaches more and more people, more and more people can recognize God’s infinite love in their lives.
These are a few ways I see God’s infinite love in the world around us. What are some ways you see His love? Share with us in the comments below!