"It is sad to say, but the familiar phrase 'the unconditional love of God' has become cliche, a true but trite expression devoid of any real meaning. Words, like anything else used too often, soon depreciate in value, lose their edge, and cease to bite into our lives. When phrases, such as unconditional love, trip too easily off the tongue, the speaker's ego may experience a temporary rush of exhilaration using an in salvation slogan, but his heart remains unchanged.
"How do I know this? Well, I have long been smitten with concepts. They engage my mind, rustle my thought process, and stir my emotions. Unconditional love as a concept has transported me to intellectual nirvana, motivated the reading of at least fifty books on related themes, and deluded me into believing that I was there. Until along came a day when I was appalled to discover that nothing had changed. It was all a head trip. Lofty thoughts and impersonal concepts left my lousy self-image intact and my way of praying unchanged.
"Until the love of God that knows no boundary, limit, or breaking point is internalized through personal decision; until the furious longing of God seizes the imagination; until the heart is conjoined to the mind through sheer grace, nothing happens. The idolatry of ideas has left me puffed up, narrow-minded, and intolerant of any idea that does not coincide with mine.
"The wild, unrestricted love of God is not simply an inspiring idea. When it imposes itself on mind and heart with the stark reality of ontological truth, it determines why and at what time you get up in the morning, how you pass your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, and who you hang with; it affects what breaks your heart, what amazes you, and what makes your heart happy.
"The revolutionary thinking that God loves me as I am and not as I should be requires radical rethinking and profound emotional readjustment. Small wonder that the late spiritual giant Basil Hume of London, England, claimed that Christians find it easier to believe that God exists than that God loves them."