(Photo: Dan Delzell)
So many religions....so little time. With all the choices that are available, how can a person even begin to figure out which religion is the correct one? Or are they all right? No....that can't be....they have conflicting doctrines with different deities and various approaches to attaining salvation. If only we could narrow down the search.
Wait a minute. Maybe there is a way. What if we could find a religion that seems to match the kind of unconditional love that mothers have for their children? At least most mothers anyway. That would show a vital connection between us and our Creator. And besides, what greater characteristic could God have than love? Hey....I might be on to something here.
As I look out into the world, I see a common thread in humanity. It transcends race and religion....and it has to do with mothers. Most mothers have an undying and unconditional love for their children. That's not to say that many fathers don't as well, but the love of a mother is truly something beautiful to behold.
It is in the mother/child relationship that I see a universal clue. What if the universal theme of love among mothers from diverse backgrounds became the insight that helped me to decipher religion....and discover the love that my heart longs for not only from my mother, but also from my Creator?
If religion is going be legit, it has to present a God who loves people at least as much as mothers love their children. There has to be something to the fact that moms around the world experience and exhibit this same trait. I think I can narrow down my search for the true religion by looking for those religions where "God" is filled with love for all people....and not just one who make demands, or threats, or pronouncements.
Let's see....why don't I start with those religions that present a God of incredible love....and narrow the list down from there.
Maybe the god of Buddhism is loving and....wait....their religion does not believe in a personal God or a divine being. I better scratch that one off my list. No unconditional love from God in that system....only moral and ethical pursuits.
Perhaps Islam is the ticket. Let's see....does Allah love all people unconditionally, including the unbelievers? No, I guess not. That is not part of their religion, or their god.
I better keep looking. I find in Hinduism that there is one supreme impersonal reality named "Brahman." Hmm. Doesn't sound too loving. And then there are those 330 million deities that are extensions of Brahman. Too many....too impersonal....next.
The Baha'i religion perhaps? Oh wait....they say God is unknowable and that he is "the most Exalted, the Inaccessible." I am glad moms are not inaccessible, like the Baha'i god. Certainly there has to be at least one match among these major religions.
What about New Age religion? "You are God....I am God....the trees are God....we are all God." Hmm. I am glad children are not raised by trees. Moving on.
There has got to be a religion that can match the love of mothers. I don't want to follow a god who doesn't love people at least that much. Where can I find such a God? Where can I find such love? Is there anything out there that can decipher religion for me, and connect me to God's love? Or is there no such God in any religion?
What's that you say? The Christian God? How so?
Well....He loves everyone. In fact, "God is love." (1 John 4:8) Try and find that in any other religion.
I have tried, and come up short. Tell me more about this God of love.
Well....He loves you whether you believe in Him or not....and whether you obey Him or not. That's why He sent His only Son to die for your sins. And if you accept His Son as your Savior, you will suddenly begin to love Him back....and obey Him....not because of threats, but because He will put His love in your heart for Him and for others. You will be regenerated on the inside by His love and forgiveness.
I am interested....tell me more.
His love for you is even greater than your mother's love for you....and that is saying something. He is a personal God....and He desires a personal relationship with you. You can know Him....and you can trust Him. He created you and all people....and He designed mothers and fathers to love their children dearly....just like God loves people dearly.
So you see....the unconditional love of mothers does indeed point to the answer. It deciphers religion, and breaks it down for us. Jesus Christ truly is the relational and loving friend and Savior of sinners, and a God of incredible patience and mercy.
You won't find another like Him. That's because all the others are just pretenders. They lack the love to be the true God. In actuality, they are just myths. If you pray to them, you are not praying to God. The only way to the Father is through the Son, Jesus. It is a beautiful message of good news which many mothers have taught their children over the years.
Moms just have a way of knowing what their kids really need. They never stop loving their children no matter what. It's great to know that God is the same way, only better. His love is deeper, and wider, and without stain or blemish. If only everyone would consider the unconditional love of moms as a way of seeing how our Designer made us in His image.
What other god has come even close to loving us so much that he sent his only son to die for us? This almost makes it too easy. There is obviously only one God who fits the bill....and loves even unbelievers....and comes after us in order to save us rather than harm us.
In the words of the song, "Amazing Love," we find this reality expressed so well: "I'm forgiven....because You were forsaken....I'm accepted....You were condemned....I am alive and well, Your Spirit is within me....because You died and rose again. Amazing love....how can it be? That You, my King, should die for me? Amazing love....I know it's true. It's my joy to honor You....in all I do, I honor You."
Wow! This search has been more than worth it. I wish I had considered the unconditional love of mothers a lot sooner as a means to decipher religion. I could have saved myself a lot of time and religious rigmarole. Religion gets complicated and confusing when we fail to discover the relational connection....and when we stop looking for love, and just settle for moralism or religious fantasy instead.
I hope you have been blessed with unconditional love from your mother. But even if you haven't, you can receive God's unconditional love for you right now in the Person of Jesus Christ. That is, if you follow the clues and come close enough to your Creator to know Him through faith. Start looking for love in all the right places. You will be glad you did!