This is part 2 of a blog reflecting on a sermon I preached in relation to the worship song “Reckless Love.”
“Reckless, but Committed”
Consider, still, the question, “are we called to love recklessly?”
I could make sense of such a claim. Like, for instance showing love to the homeless simply because God asks us to (see pt. 1 if you haven’t yet).
Loving anyone who is in need is exactly what we are called to do. That’s what God does and we mirror God’s love because we have God’s love. And doing it without thinking what might happen if you actually get involved in this person’s life, or without caring that it’ll be a little inconvenient to go out of your way to do so. That could be called ‘reckless’ I suppose.
Loving like you don’t have a care in the world, or worried about what others will think, or if it might inconvenience you on your way to work or class or whatever is one thing, but what would really be reckless love is if it wasn’t carried out all the way; if you didn’t actually commit to journeying with them. It would be reckless, right? And I think you have to ask yourself, “Is this how I understand God’s love: incomplete, uncommitted, a one off done on a whim?”
Consider the parable of the Samaritan in Luke 10 again. The Samaritan man was fully committed to helping. So much so that he cleaned and bandaged the man up before giving him a ride into town and paying for his stay at a hotel until he got better. This wasn’t a case of superficially asking someone how they’re doing, or even splashing out some money or food to a person in need without ever returning or helping that person to get back on their feet. This was commitment. It was reckless of him to put himself in that position, but he was fully committed to see it through. You could even say, “just like God was with Jesus.” Sure.
I just want to challenge that the idea of loving recklessly in this way isn’t a one off kind of thing. And if you’re going to embrace that as a calling or a way of living for Jesus, it would actually be more reckless of you to not commit to the journey that could be involved.
After the service Sunday night a woman was speaking with me and said she was drawn to the image of war; the movie Hacksaw Ridge to be specific. It’s a movie based on a true story of a Christian pacifist who’s made to go to war, but refuses to fight because he doesn’t agree with violence. So he becomes a field medic. There’s a particular scene where his company is getting laid to waste, but he takes it upon himself to save as many people as he can, even some of the injured enemies! One by one he finds someone alive, drags them to the ridge and lowers them down to safety with a rope, using himself as a pulley. He does this many, many times, all without regard to his own safety.
Some might call his actions reckless (some might even say going to war is reckless), some might say courageous. Either way, he was committed to doing what he was doing. There’s no half-assing this living for Jesus thing, guys.
Anyway, this is the kind of image the woman was drawn to.
We were talking about it and, yes, for us to do something like this – taking a risk without knowing what might happen to us – is both reckless and courageous. But as we were talking we started discussing how it only makes sense on a human level because God already knows the outcome.
To get really theological here, by definition of what we all believe of God, God’s love cannot be ‘reckless.’ Reckless implies that it’s done without consideration of what might happen to the self or to others, right?
But God can’t put himself in danger. He’s God! AND he knows what will happen. There is no real risk! You could say it’s like his love is reckless, but you can’t really say it is reckless.
It’s tricky for us to analogize it because we can’t understand that for ourselves. Actions like these, and like that of the shepherd in Luke 15 are perhaps a little reckless for human beings, but it breaks down when we apply it as a true statement (as opposed to an analogy) of what God’s love is like.
During our conversation she agreed with me that what’s reckless for us, or how we view something like this as reckless, is not really reckless at all for God because God is sovereign. God is in control. God knows everything and sees everything.
How can anything God does be truly reckless?