The reckless love of God comes from the famous Christian song, “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury. This song has grown in popularity over the years and many churches utilize this worship song in their services. Stemming from the passage of Luke 15:1-6, the song “Reckless Love” is supposed to be about God’s “reckless” love, but what is the reckless love of God? Is God’s love actually reckless?
What Does Reckless Love Mean?
Most of us would agree that the word “reckless” has negative connotations. Reckless is normally seen as careless, haphazard, or thoughtless. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines reckless as being “marked by lack of proper caution: careless of consequences.” From this definition, being reckless is described as being incautious, careless, and irresponsible.
Since the song “Reckless Love” is supposed to be about God’s love, then the logical assumption is that this song is advocating the idea that God’s love is careless, thoughtless, or irresponsible. As with many other fellow Christian writers, I do not believe this was Asbury’s intent when he sings this song.
I agree with fellow theologian, Vince Wright, that a better word to be utilized in this song would be “passionate.” The rest of Asbury’s “Reckless Love” song has biblical foundations; however, the only main problem is the idea of God having reckless love.
God does not have reckless love as His love is dependable, faithful, and true. God promises to never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). In the same way, the Bible tells us nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior (Romans 8:31-39). His love is in no way reckless.
Asbury’s song is based on Jesus’ story of the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep in pursuit to find the one sheep that wandered off (Luke 15:1-6). In this parable, the shepherd stands for God and the sheep stands for people.
The 99 sheep are those who have placed faith in Him and are following Him, and the sheep that wandered away is the person who has turned away from God. The main message Jesus is communicating through this story is that God loves each and every person, and He is not willing to lose one of His children.
The Bible tells us, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The Lord wants all people to come to know Him and be saved, which is why He goes after the one that wanders away.
In this parable, Jesus is emphasizing the truth that God values each and every person (1 John 4:19). He is not willing for one person to be lost. The love that God extends to us is not reckless, haphazard, or thoughtless. Rather, God’s love is intentional, pure, and thoughtful.
The Lord’s love for us never wavers as His love is constant and never changing. God intentionally chooses to love us even though we are sinners (Romans 5:8). This does not mean that God’s love is reckless, but rather, it means that God’s love is filled with care, grace, and mercy.
The Lord does love each of His children with unconditional love, but His unconditional love is not reckless. God does not do things recklessly. To believe that God does things recklessly would be incompatible with the truth revealed about God in the Bible.
The Lord never behaves in an irresponsible way, and He never acts rashly with His children. The main idea of Jesus’ parable found in Luke 15:1-6 is not to imply God’s love is reckless, but rather, to inform the readers that each person is dearly loved by God and that He would always come after them if they went astray.
How to Understand God’s Love
Within Asbury’s song “Reckless Love,” he emphasizes the concept that God’s love is overwhelming, never-ending, and always pursuing. God’s love does pour out over us like a flood, it is never-ending, and the Lord is always pursuing the lost to know Him.
He is always shepherding His people back to Him as a shepherd guides his sheep back to the flock. We are all part of the flock of sheep that Jesus describes in the story of Luke 15:1-6.
Every person has at some time been the one sheep that wanders off — whether that be by living a sinful lifestyle, following the ways of the world, or living in active disobedience to God.
Despite turning away from God and our disobedience, He is still there. His love for us does not change based on what we do or what we do not do. The Lord does not want us to live a life in sin because He knows a life of sin will only cause misery, destruction, and death.
Yahweh is constantly pursuing His children to come back to be with Him. Why? Because He loves each person unconditionally. God loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for our sins. The love of God is not reckless and carefree.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:16-17).
If it was God would have never gone to the lengths that He did to bring us to redemption through His Son dying on the cross. As previously mentioned, I do not believe Asbury was trying to advocate the idea that God’s love is irresponsible; however, the idea of “reckless love” in conjunction with God implies the idea that God’s love is haphazard.
Rather than calling God’s love “reckless,” he should have used the word “passionate” or “unconditional” to describe God’s love. It is great to listen to Christian worship songs and to sing along to them; however, it is vital that Christians are conscientious about the worship songs they hear and sing.
What Does This Mean?
Sadly, there are many worship songs that are not biblically accurate, and Christians need to be aware of proper biblical doctrine in order for them not to believe erroneous beliefs about God through worship songs. The best way to learn about God is by reading the Bible.
The Bible is the inerrant, infallible, accurate Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God’s Word can never fail us because the Bible contains the actual words of God. Contemporary worship songs are not divinely inspired, and different artists hold different views regarding Scripture.
It is best to always be mindful of the music we listen to, including Christian worship music. As in the case of “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury, the erroneous idea that God’s love is reckless has been permeated throughout the world when in reality, God’s love is not reckless. God’s love is constant, pure, and unconditional — it is not reckless at all.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Christian Ministry and is currently working toward her Master’s Degree. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is probably embarking on an adventure.