Can God's love really be reckless?

Posted by Matt Brady on June 12, 2018

I have read some interesting thoughts on the internet in relation to a new worship song that many churches have been performing lately, a song titled “Reckless Love”. Most of the controversy centers around the words of the chorus:

“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God Oh, it chases me down, fights ‘til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God” (from Reckless Love, written by Cory Asbury)

Now, we could certainly have a theological discussion on whether or not God / God’s love actually “chases me down”, but that’s not the biggest rub that most people have with the chorus. The issue comes from referring to God’s love as reckless.

I mean, is God’s love ACTUALLY reckless?

Let’s take a quick step back and survey the landscape. Whenever I want to better understand phrase or keyword, I always find the dictionary definition and work my way forward from there. Sometimes it helps, and even if it doesn’t, it’s always fun for a book nerd like me to use a dictionary or dictionary app. (Check out the Merriam Webster Dictionary app. It also has a thesaurus, and you can save your favorite words!)

Here’s one definition of reckless: “having or showing a lack of concern for the consequences of one’s actions.”

Some synonyms are words like adventurous, audacious, bold, daring, and wild.

Hrmm.

One other item that may help us understand this chorus better is to take a look at the parable referenced. It’s taken from Luke 15, the parable of the lost sheep. In it, Jesus tells this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?” (Luke 15:3-4)

The whole parable goes through verse seven, and Jesus reminds us that “there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away.” It’s a great reminder of how different God’s kingdom economy works different from our own. To God, the lost one is worth more than the righteous ninety-nine. If we were to be put in that same position, we likely would place more value in the safety of the ninety-nine, and just hope that the lost one could find it’s own way home. But that’s not how it’s suppose to work!

To me, God’s economy sounds pretty reckless, at least in my own human, selfish, and self-preservationist way of thinking. I think the song “Reckless Love” does an excellent job of capturing the state of my own heart and life before Christ, and acts as a reminder of just how amazing His love is for me. That’s something I don’t mind singing about!