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When we are in our 'stinkiest' human state, God still loves us unconditionally

"I have always loved you," says the Lord. (New Living Translation, Malachi 1:2)

As I type this article, I hear the soft breathing of a 3-month old baby sleeping just a few feet away. It took a bottle, pacing the living room, and then 10 minutes of guitar strumming to finally put her to sleep.

Seeing her in this state, it's easy to say, "I love you little one." Just fifteen minutes ago "love" wasn't the word I had in mind. I was more thinking, "I would really appreciate it if you would quiet down and go to sleep."

As much as I don't want to admit it, my love tends to be conditional. There are times where I find myself tolerating people or just hanging on until the "seasons" change and we are all happy again. Yes, deep down I can tend to be a "fair-weather" friend.

This verse of scripture from Malachi caught my attention about two months ago, and I have been mentally trying to wrap my brain around it.

"I have ALWAYS loved you says the Lord."

The word for love that is used in this scripture in the original language it was written in means, "To be drawn to another as a married couple is drawn to each other, or to enjoy another's company as would friends."

We are all drawn to a love that finds us lovely or likeable. Did you know God has always loved and liked you this way?

Excuse me a moment, she's starting to stir, I'll be right back. ...

Thanks for your patience, she was having gas. This time, it took a few moments of holding her by her tummy, then the pacifier went in and a gentle rocking for five minutes did the trick. The pacifier was for me, it's been a stressful day. (Just kidding).

In our home, we've had about 15 years of children in diapers. (I don't mean they just stayed in diapers for 15 years, I mean we've had enough kids (bio, adopted and foster) under 2 in our home that it adds up to 15 plus years).

So, I know what it means to unconditionally love through the messes. I am not saying I have that love all the time, but my wife does. She's the pro and can handle the stinkiest diaper and love on that little one all the way through the clean-up process.

I, on the other hand, go into "tolerate mode." Midway through a diaper change I have to step away from ground zero gagging, then I gasp for a lung full of air before diving back in to complete the hazardous waste removal. "Liking" that little one in that moment is the furthest thing from my mind.

The other day, I walk past our bedroom, and I hear laughter and giggles. Tricia is changing what is probably her 100,000th baby diaper, the room smells like you know what, but there is deep love being shared, she is sharing love with the one who made the horrible mess of a perfectly good diaper and the entire outfit. Through the poop, Tricia finds a way to connect, to laugh, and to love. I find her amazing!

The book of Malachi is an amazing love story between God and a people that had turned their back on Him. The prophet/author of this short book lists the sins of Israel at that time. The list was long and stinky! Yet, the first words God speaks to Israel are, "I have always loved (and liked) you." Ephesians 3:18 and 19 says "... how wide, how long, how high, and how deep [God's] love is. … it is too great to understand fully." I find Him and His love amazing!

God has taken a liking to you, Prineville. Believe it or not, when you are in your stinkiest state, He likes you. I know, he hates the bad stuff we do, because he sees how it hurts us and those around us, but that doesn't change the fact that He is "head-over-heels" for you! He likes/loves you, and nothing you can do or say will change that. It's not a conditional, fair-weather liking. It's not an "I'll tolerate you until you can get your act together" kind of love. It's not a love that says, "I'll love you if you'll love me back." No matter the distance we've placed between us and Him, no matter the seriousness of the offense, no matter the lack of love or respect we may have for Him, you and I can never say of God, "You've lost that lovin' feeling."

Whatever emotional or spiritual state you may be in, would you take a moment and look up. Look into the eyes of the One who loves you more deeply than any other and let Him lift you up, and clean you up through the work Jesus did for you on the cross. Let Him show you a love that has no end.

Brian Carmack serves as Lead Pastor at Eastside Church in Prineville. If you have questions or comments, he can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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