I understand how for most of us this is a provocative title that piques our attention, and instantly unearths our theological understanding of God and His character.
So many scriptures speak about how “nothing is impossible for God”, and while I whole-heartedly adhere to that belief, I have found that even God has given Himself some parameters in which He cannot violate.
When God created the first human being, one of the first things he set into motion is free will. Now, I understand depending on where you fall on the map of Calvinism and Arminianism you may choose to disagree from a theological standpoint. However, if you stick with me, you’ll see what I mean when it comes to the dynamics of our relationships, and how this reality plays out.
With free will now in motion, God seems to make it clear that genuine relationship is based on the free will response of and reciprocation of man towards God’s directive love. We could say that when He created man and woman with a free will, He simultaneously placed a limit to how His sovereign will could play out towards humanity.
Would we all agree that if a man wants to pursue a woman with the intent of dating and possibly marrying her, but the woman is not interested, and clearly not reciprocating, that no genuine relationship can ensue?
Or what about a friend. Say a situation happens to cause a wedge between two friends and one wants to reconcile and the other doesn’t. What then? Can genuine relationship go from pause to play again between these two friends? Unfortunately, no. The one friend can continue to love, but that love may not be received, and therefore that relationship ceases to grow.
Now, we understand that in terms of God making things right between us and Him, He didn’t need our permission or participation.
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)
Thankfully, that was something God certainly could do, and in fact, did. However, what happens to that gift of salvation, purchased, finished, and ready to be received? Now, if we apply the same principles we know to be true in any genuine relationship (that both parties must choose to participate) will some NOT choose to receive that gift, and forfeit all that is being extended?
If so, would God then violate the terms of any genuine relationship, by forcing His will to eclipse ours? Therefore, making it impossible for us NOT to choose Him? Hmmm, I’m not so sure. Isn’t the strength of God seen in His restraint? Isn’t His security seen in His lack of manipulation? Yes, the cost is eternal separation from the ones He loves, but wouldn’t God, like any of us, want a willing friend and recipient rather than a coerced one?
In our relationships we find it is not right to coerce, manipulate, or drive someone into relationship or reconciliation with us, but rather we unconditionally extend our heart and our love, allowing the other party to choose us or not to. In terms of our salvation, what Jesus accomplished on a cross so many years ago yielded the eternal benefits needed for this life and the one to come. However, a gift is defined as “a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present”, and just as the gift is given willingly, it must be in turn received willingly.
It is a wondrous thing when we can find security in giving generously of our heart, love, and words without the strings attached that would determine whether I give of myself or not. Unconditional love is founded on the bedrock of genuine relationship. That which doesn’t require response, but desires it. It doesn’t force reciprocation, but longs for it. And finally, it allows you NOT to choose it.
I have found that kind and quality of love is one borne from above, and the most freeing, to the one giving, and to the one receiving. God is a gentleman, He desires our hearts, but wants us to give them willingly.
“O my son, give me your heart.
May your eyes take delight in following my ways.” -Proverbs 23:26