Far from Reckless

You’ve probably heard a well-known song, describing God’s love as “reckless.” A rendition I heard a while back was unique, with beautiful harmonies; it stirred my Spirit, even well into the night. It’s a controversial song. Some have spoken to their worship leaders about it, chosen not to join in singing it at their churches, or turned the channel/skipped it, when it’s come on the radio, Spotify, etc.

WHY DOES THE TERM “RECKLESS” SPUR CONTROVERSY?

“Reckless” is “marked by lack of proper caution: careless of consequences; irresponsible; heedlessness of probable consequences.”1 Here are some synonyms listed for this word with their definitions/implications; note that all of them expose “oneself to danger more than required by good sense:”1

  • DARING implies fearlessness in courting danger.”
  • DAREDEVIL stresses [a showy, unrefined demonstration in order to draw attention and impress with greater qualities than one actually has] in regard to daring.
  • RASH suggests imprudence and lack of forethought.”
  • FOOLHARDY suggests a recklessness that is inconsistent with good sense.”1

This is why many have a tough time with this description of God’s love; it’s depicted as careless or irresponsible.

WHAT WAS THE WRITER’S INTENSION?

“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. 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. The recklessness of His love is seen most clearly in this – it gets Him hurt over and over. Make no mistake, our sin pains His heart. Yet He opens up and allows us in every time. His love saw you when you hated Him – when all logic said, ‘They’ll reject me,’ He said, ‘I don’t care if it kills me. I’m laying My heart on the line.'”2

Cory Asbury
DIVISION OR UNITY AMONG BELIEVERS?

I read a blog by a passionate worship leader about the use of the word “reckless” in “Reckless Love” and how believers have raised questions about it. He said, “I honestly cannot believe I just wasted 10 minutes of my time needing to argue why reckless is an okay description of God’s love in this context. I think if more Christians were more distressed about reaching their lost neighbors with the gospel of Jesus instead of putting up a fuss about songs like this, the world would be a much better [place] with more saved people. But nope. We still battle our pharisaical and religious tendencies.” His view was that “The chorus focuses on how incredible it is that God loves us and pursues us. The term “Reckless” has gotten a lot of attention. As usual, when a gifted songwriter uses a bit of language that is not typical, all of the Pharisees in the church come out of the woodwork and make a loud fuss.”3

We ABSOLUTELY need to be concerned with reaching our lost neighbors with the gospel of Jesus and be in awe of the incredible love God so drastically demonstrated to us! So, when’s it “fussy” to call something out, and when’s it just discerning? My belief is that when something misrepresents Who God IS, it’s ok to be “fussy,” as some people see it. Misrepresented information has the possibility of deceiving people or causing them to question truth, and we want to be extremely discerning in representing our God correctly. If you follow this blog, you know I spent quite some time combing through misrepresentations of love. The consequences of misstatements are detrimental.

A LOOK AT TRUTH…GOD IS:
  • Love (1 John 4:8, 16), so describing God’s love IS describing HimHis character; you can’t separate the two. This word for love, as you may remember, is agape, which means “what God prefers.” He prefers what aligns with His character/who He is.
  • Purposeful (Job 42:1-5, Ephesians 1:7-11, 3:8-12). I’ve seen this with new eyes while working on the Bible study God’s prepared for me; He is purposeful, even in the smallest details.
  • Righteous and merciful (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 89:14, 119:137; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
  • The giver of every good gift (James 1:17).
  • Our debt payer. The definition of “bankrupt” is “unable to pay outstanding debts, completely lacking in a particular quality or value.”4 To say God’s love “bankrupted heaven” is to say He was insufficient in paying the debts for our sins; however, He PAID the world’s sin debt…in full…with one payment (Psalm 37:21, Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 10:10, 1 John 2:2, 4:9-10; 2 Corinthians 8:9–there’s a difference between “poor” and “bankrupt”).

There’s much more we could dive into here, but this is enough to digest.

We creative types like to make an impact through our words and try to be different in our approach in order to do so. However, it’s important that we choose our words with MUCH care (Matthew 12:36).

The purpose of this post is not to bash that song or its author; it’s to draw close to Truth and encourage all of us (including myself) to study Him and rely on His Spirit to convey Him/His character correctly through our words.

1 “Reckless.” Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reckless. Accessed 9 March 2022.

2 Asbury, Cory. “Reckless Love.” Songfacts, https://www.songfacts.com/facts/cory-asbury/reckless-love. Accessed 9 March 2022.

3 Gosselin, Jake. “Reckless Love by Cory Asbury – Song Meaning, Review, and Worship Leading Tips.” Churchfront, https://churchfront.com/blog-churchfront/2017/11/8/reckless-love-by-cory-asbury-song-meaning-review-and-worship-leading-tips, 8 November 2017.

4 “Bankrupt.” Oxford Dictionaries, https://www.google.com/search?q=define+bankrupt&sxsrf=APq-WBu8EqW-E-d5oK6WPtQwMRafy8z5lA%3A1647018946537&ei=woMrYou7ILnN0PEPtL2M4Ak&ved=0ahUKEwiLpPzZx772AhW5JjQIHbQeA5wQ4dUDCA4&uact=5&oq=define+bankrupt&gs_lcp=Cgdnd3Mtd2l6EAMyBAgAEEMyBQgAEIAEMgUIABCABDIFCAAQgAQyBQgAEIYDMgUIABCGAzIFCAAQhgM6BwgAEEcQsAM6BwgAELADEENKBAhBGABKBAhGGABQ7QFYwQdgjgxoAXABeACAAWWIAYQDkgEDMy4xmAEAoAEByAEJwAEB&sclient=gws-wiz. Accessed 11 March 2022.

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