Some of you have asked if I would post my notes from what I shared about God’s “reckless love” during worship at SweetMercies on Sunday night, so here they are. I recognize that my opinion is just one among many. And boy, are there many! :)
The first time I heard this song it brought to my mind that old poem “The Hound of Heaven” by Francis Thompson which begins:
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;I fled Him, down the arches of the years;I fled Him, down the labyrinthine waysOf my own mind; and in the mist of tearsI hid from Him, and under running laughter.Up vistaed hopes I sped;And shot, precipitated,Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.But with unhurrying chase,And unperturbèd pace,Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,They beat—and a Voice beatMore instant than the Feet—‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’
(For an interesting read, see John Stott’s testimony about the Hound of Heaven in the first chapter of his book, Why I Am a Christian.)
Regardless of how you may feel about the title of this song, or even the song itself, I pray that it stirs in you a profound awe for the love of God that pursued you, and profound gratefulness for the loving Father who sent his own Son to die for you while you were still a sinner, an enemy of God. Oh, how He loves us!! And when you contemplate that love, don’t make it about YOU. Make it about HIM!!!! --💗 Heather
Reckless Love/ Cory Asbury
This song has enjoyed immense popularity since its debut. I think it resonates with believers because of how it magnifies God’s overwhelming love for us. But it does so using a word that has stirred the pot in some Christian circles, and that is the word “Reckless.” This is an uncomfortable adjective to use to describe God’s love, especially if you come at it armed with your dictionary and thesaurus:
Reckless: “without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action”
“rash, careless, heedless, audacious, thoughtless, hasty, impulsive, fool-hardy, unwise”
Are these really words we should use to define the omniscient, omnipotent, holy, righteous God? Well, not in a theology class! But I’m going to tell you why I think it’s okay for us to sing about God’s “reckless love”:
The composer of this song defended his use of the word saying this, “What I mean is this: He is utterly unconcerned with the consequences of His actions with regards to His own safety, comfort, and well-being…His love doesn’t consider Himself first. His love isn’t selfish or self-serving.”
Sam Storms has defended the song with a similar definition:
“I take the word ‘reckless’ to mean that God’s love defies all human categories of how love ought to operate and express itself. God loves sinners in the most unconventional and seemingly unsophisticated manner possible. His love is contrary to how we typically love one another.. It is reckless in the sense that he loves those who have done nothing to warrant or justify his affection. He loves those who ‘can’t earn it’ and certainly ‘don’t deserve it.’…God’s love for us doesn’t square up with our expectations or what we think is fitting and proper and wise. He shatters the mold! He breaks all the (human) rules for how love ought to act and on whom it ought to be showered.”
Look at the words and actions of Jesus. By the world’s standards, from a human perspective, this is a reckless love — associating with prostitutes and tax collectors and sinners, right under the noses of the Pharisees? Touching unclean lepers? Inviting the very man who would betray him into his inner circle of disciples?
Look at his words: leaving 99 sheep to go after 1? That seems so careless — just let him go, he deserves what he gets.
Jesus, this parable about the seeds — you’re telling us to just throw them indiscriminately, without a care to where they land, and you’ll cause them to grow? That seems so foolish…
We’ve heard it said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But Jesus, you’re saying to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us? Is that wise?
And what’s with this parable of the prodigal son? Jesus, are you saying we should mimic that father who sets aside his personal dignity and risks his reputation by running to and embracing and welcoming that wayward son?
That’s why I think we can sing about his reckless love. If you’re uncomfortable singing the word reckless, sing wondrous, sing relentless…
But whatever you sing, allow yourself to be shocked by God’s unfathomable expression of love for you. His love should take your breath away. It should shock you out of your reckless pursuit and acceptance of sin and leave you on your knees.