I John 4:10-12, (NIV) “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
The word “unqualified” is interesting to me. The meaning that most of us are familiar with, the meaning that we use most often, according to dictionary.com is, “not qualified, not fit.” However, there is an alternate definition that I would like to focus on for today. It is, “not modified, limited, or restricted in any way, without reservations; also, absolute, complete.”
When I first thought about both definitions together, my first reaction was confusion. I mean, these significances are on completely opposite ends of the spectrum. One indicates an unworthiness, that something is lacking. The other implies wholeness, that nothing is lacking.
And the more I thought about it, a beautiful picture began to form as I applied this adjective to the love between my Lord and me. My love for Him is certainly unqualified. It is not fit, but rather is lacking in every way. And there is nothing that I can do to ever be qualified enough to earn His love. But His love for me is also unqualified. He puts absolutely no restrictions, no qualifications on His love. It is complete and absolute regardless of my own limitations. In fact, the more I recognize how very unqualified that I am, the more I can see how very unqualified His love for me is!
I think my favorite man in the New Testament next to Jesus was John the Beloved. I especially love that he gave himself this nickname! Five times in the Gospel of John he refers to himself as, “the disciple who Jesus loved.” He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was loved by the Lord, despite his lack of qualifications.
Let’s take at look at his resume... He was a fisherman, (Matthew 4:21.) He desired the place of honor above the other disciples, (Matthew 20:21.) He fell asleep while Jesus had asked him to pray for him, (Mark 14:37.) He deserted Jesus when they arrested Him, (Mark 14:50.) He returned to fishing after Jesus was crucified, (John 21:3.) There is nothing in his history that screams, “Pick me, pick me! I’m the one that you need to help you further your kingdom on the earth!” And yet, Jesus does choose him, and somehow John realizes that the Lord loves him despite of - perhaps because of - his terrible resume.
John the Beloved wrote five books in the New Testament. In these books he mentions the word “love” 67 times! Do you think he thought it was important for us to recognize and experience God’s love?