My youngest daughter recently sent me a youtube video of a song called, “Reckless Love,” which is written to describe how God pursues each of us through His love. If you are a parent who has ever quoted the verse, “Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it,” then this is a song that you should listen to. It will lift your faith in God because He pursues all who are away from Him to bring them back into relationship.

It is easy for us to focus on the word “reckless” and say that this word cannot possibly describe God in any way. At first glance, the dictionary definition seems to confirm this thinking since “reckless” is not a good descriptive word for God. It is defined as “without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action,” providing the example of  “reckless driving” which is clearly a careless act.

God is certainly not “careless” but actually the exact opposite. “He cares for us” so much that He will go to any extreme to reach us, which is the heart of the song, Reckless Love. Verse 1 highlights how God created us and gives us life. Verse 2 focuses on how God redeems us, despite the fact we were His enemies and rebellious in our sinfulness. The chorus focuses on how incredible it is that God loves us and pursues us.

The biblical basis for the song is Luke 15 which contains 3 parables: the lost son (or the prodigal), the lost sheep and the lost coin. Think how “reckless” it was for the father to receive with open arms his son who had squandered his inheritance.  He did not care about the consequences of what other people thought of this act of love. Same thing with the parable of the lost sheep. Why would a shepherd not care about the safety of the 99 to go find the one?  The shepherd was a little reckless … without thinking or caring about the consequences of leaving the flock, he recklessly drove to save the one that was lost.

Is this really any different than the song “Amazing Grace?” The language of that time speaks of “saving a wretch like me” which is picture of reaching out to someone who “once was lost, but now am found.” The message of “Reckless Love” focuses on God reaching to us in much the same way as through Amazing Grace. The important issue here is not how this new song compares to an older song, but rather the biblical support the author was inspired by to write it.

If Luke 15 isn’t sufficient, look at 1 Cor. 1:18 where Paul writes: “The word of the cross seems foolishness to those who are are on the way to destruction; but to us … it is the power of God.” The word “foolishness” is easily comparable to “reckless,” which can be seen as one way to describe how God extends His love to humanity.

Here is an excerpt from what the author of the song, Cory Asbury, says:

“When I use the phrase, “the reckless love of God”, I’m not saying that God Himself is reckless. I am, however, saying that the way He loves, is in many regards, quite so. 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 isn’t crafty or slick. It’s not cunning or shrewd. In fact, all things considered, it’s quite childlike, and might I even suggest, sometimes downright ridiculous. His love bankrupted heaven for you. His love doesn’t consider Himself first. His love isn’t selfish or self-serving. He doesn’t wonder what He’ll gain or lose by putting Himself out there. He simply gives Himself away on the off-chance that one of us might look back at Him and offer ourselves in return.”

What an interesting perspective. I am not sure you can bankrupt heaven, but I get the point: “God gave his only son.” As a parent, I want the Reckless Love of God to relentlessly pursue my children with the goal of drawing them back to Himself. For that matter, when I myself am distant in my relationship with my Creator, I trust He would “recklessly” leave the ninety-nine to seek after me. This song truly displays the message of redemption, which is the ultimate message of the church. I truly cannot understand how a church would not have this song as part of their worship service.

I will admit that the word “reckless” in reference to God’s love does push the boundaries a little but the whole point of the song is exactly that … His love reaches beyond any barrier. Isn’t that the whole point of John 3:16? Isn’t that a reckless expression of God “coming after me,” as the song says?

Please watch the video:

 

 

5 thoughts on “Is God’s Love Reckless?

  1. How far do we stretch theology and biblical soundness just to substantiate and give credibility to a ‘hit’ song. Comparing this song to amazing Grace. Really?

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    1. I am not sure this is a stretch in theology, even though it may be for some. The comparison of the song to Amazing Grace came to mind because of the overlap between God’s character of grace and love. Both grace and love reach out to prodigals in a similar manner, to not only seek and find, but to accept once found despite that person’s failures. “To save a wretch like me” is very similar to, “I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still you give yourself away …” That sounds like Amazing Grace to me.

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  2. Hi Lorne,

    I know that when we write something and put it out there, we really want the positive feedback, but I just can’t follow you on this road. I believe there are some serious errors in your writing here and I hope that I don’t offend in giving a counter-argument.

    – On the topic of the lost sheep: The point of Christ’s parable was that the ninety-nine sheep were safe. They represent the “saved” sheep. There was no recklessness in leaving them alone because, as Christ puts it, they are the “ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Those sheep are good. They’re safe.

    – On the topic of the father of the prodigal son: In the story of the prodigal son, everyone rejoiced, except for one. The older brother was the ONLY person who saw His father as being reckless, and it was motivated by jealousy. Everyone else rejoiced. I’m not sure we are to desire to be like the older son.

    – Your reference to Luke 15: This is where I have a serious objection with your usage of scripture. You wrote, “If Luke 15 isn’t sufficient, look at 1 Cor. 1:18 where Paul writes: “The word of the cross seems foolishness to those who are are on the way to destruction; but to us … it is the power of God.” The word “foolishness” is easily comparable to “reckless,” which can be seen as one way to describe how God extends His love to humanity.”

    In the 1 Corinthian passage, who are the ones that the word of the cross seems foolish (or as you put it, reckless)? Those who “are on the way to destruction”. Are you on the way to destruction? If not, then why would you see the cross as foolish, or reckless. Wouldn’t you be one of the ones who sees the cross as “the power of God”?

    – Cory Asbury’s excerpt: I agree with you, that I’m not sure God bankrupted heaven for us. Heaven is filled with the glory of God and to bankrupt Heaven would imply that God was no longer God. The major theological divide I find behind this song is when Asbury said, “His love doesn’t consider Himself first.”

    My question to Cory is this, “Why does God do anything”? The answer is that He does all things for His glory. His love for humanity and creation is really about revealing His own glory. He considers Himself first because He is the root that everything else must draw from. He reconciled us, not just for our own sake, but for His glory. We also see this in Christ’s narrative in the garden of Gethsemane. Christ never says anything in the gospels about going through His calling as Messiah as anything other than, “the will of the Father who sent me”. Christ’s mission was God’s glory. It’s why Jesus asked that “the cup be taken from me”. No matter how much Christ loved you and me, He didn’t want to climb on the cross. It wasn’t Christ’s love for us that compelled Him to climb on the cross, it was obedience to God, seen in His statement, “Not my will, but Yours be done”.

    It is because of this that, where the world may see a foolish (reckless) God, we do not. We see a powerful/intentional God. I believe to associate God as reckless is to see Him the way the unbeliever would see Him, not as intentional, holy, and omnipotent.

    I know that was long, and I appreciate any time you gave to reading through. My email was given, and, if you have time, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Honestly, the tune keeps finding it’s way into my head and I really want to like this song, but I just cannot grab ahold of the theology.

    In Christ

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    1. Hi Michael,
      Certainly no offence taken on my part and I welcome the conversation. Let me respond:

      -On the topic of the lost sheep – I agree the Ninety-nine were safe, but the shepherd leaving them is not without risk as it then leaves an opportunity for an attack in his absence. This means the shepherds love has to be calculated, he must choose to leave the herd unguarded for a time to pursue the one, which does involve the risk of attack when he is not there to protect, so in that sense “reckless.” The point though is that the shepherd is not reckless, but his love for the one lost could be viewed that way.

      -On the Prodigal Son- The older son has issues of jealousy, as you pointed out, but unfortunately he represents many who are inside the fold, already in the church, who may have an improper view of the father’s love. We obviously do not desire to be like the elder son, but there are many in the church like him who need to understand that God loves them and desires to embrace them in the same way the father embraces the prodigal son.

      -Reference to 1 Cor. 1:18 – You are correct about those “on the way to destruction” as viewing the cross as foolishness. I see the cross as “power of God” that can rescue any that are away from the Father’s love. Therefore the foolishness of the cross has the power to rescue those who think it foolish. So the viewpoint changes when a person is impacted by the cross. What was once viewed as foolish becomes the power to save. I find it amazing that God is able to take what appears to us as “foolish things … to shame the wise” (1 Cor. 1:25).

      -Cory Asbury’s exerpt – God may do things for His glory, but that is not his only motivation. John 3:16 clearly shows his desire to rescue man, but that is not actually separate from His glory. When we believe in him, the angels in heaven rejoice (Luke 15:10), so that actually does bring glory to God. It’s interesting to read Heb. 2:10 – part of God’s purpose is fulfilled “in bringing many sons to glory.” Jesus himself said “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” which indicates it was not only obedience but his love for us that led Him to the cross.

      I am not trying to say that God is in any way reckless, and I don’t believe Asbury is saying God is reckless either. The song is about God’s love reaching beyond any barrier to rescue us. That can be viewed as reckless by some (obviously Asbury being one of them), but the challenge is the word has a negative connotation. That is why it stretches our thinking and maybe why the song has been so impactful. I see it as God’s willingness to go to any length to reach us, and that’s Amazing Grace.

      Ultimately the song lifts up the love of God, ministers His love and extends grace. I believe it is healthy to have these discussions about our theology. We need to know what we believe and why we believe it.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to respond. I really appreciate it.

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