Is ‘Reckless Love’ an Accurate Depiction of God?

Preacher and author A.W. Tozer famously stated in his book “Knowledge of the Holy” that what a person thinks about God is the most important thing about him or her. Continuing this line of thinking, it would follow that what a worship song causes those singing to think about God is the most important thing about the song.

What then, is to be made of the lyrics, “O, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God” in the song “Reckless Love?” Throughout the Bible, it is made clear that the creator of the universe is made up of a love that is vast beyond comprehension. No issue there.

However, the word “reckless” is an inaccurate depiction of God and his love, which is the gravest error a worship song could make.

One of the definitions for reckless from is being “utterly unconcerned about the consequence of an action.” This definition was echoed by the writer of this song, Cory Asbury, who explained the lyrics in the midst of singing the song at Bethel Church. Asbury stated that God did not consider himself first and that his love is not self-serving.

“We are not saying that God himself is reckless,” Asbury said. “He is not crazy. We are saying that how he loves is in many ways quite so. He is utterly unconcerned with the consequences of his own actions with regard to his own safety, comfort and well-being”

In laying a foundation, it must be understood that God’s character is always reflected in his actions. He cannot act outside of who he is. So, to say that God acted recklessly is to say that God himself is reckless.

Then, considering God’s love as reckless because he does not consider himself first, is shown to be wrong. In fact, God is primarily concerned with his own glory. God still loves every person immensely. More than we could ever grasp, but in a sermon titled “God is for God,” pastor and author Matt Chandler reminded his audience that, “the Bible is not about you.”

This seems harsh at first. God being a jealous god who is after his own glory sounds wrong to human ears. But it must be realized that God is for God because it is only in him that true satisfaction is found. This ultimate contentment would be undermined if God placed anything above himself because he would be leading us astray. It would cause people to seek rest and purpose in places they can never be found.

For God to love well and bring about the joy of all mankind, he must be concerned with his glory above all else. To grasp this is to grasp what the Bible is all about.

The second definition gives of reckless is to be “characterized by or proceeding from such carelessness.” This definition further communicates a faulty view of God.

It is humbling and amazing to picture Jesus deciding to come to Earth to save sinners, no matter the cost. That Jesus came to Earth ready to do absolutely whatever it would take to redeem mankind, a decision he followed through with to the point of dying on a cross. For Jesus to recklessly commit himself to a cause unconcerned and unaware of the consequences seems like a great act of love.

Jesus’ sacrifice was actually a much greater act of love. Jesus knew that the wrath of God was going to be poured out upon him and that part of this suffering would include being crucified by his own creation. Yet knowing all this, Jesus willingly endured this death, in obedience to God and for the joy set before him. This is the greatest act of love conceivable.

God did not recklessly break the rules of love in order to save mankind. His love is the standard. Anything God does that does not fit within culture’s context of what love typically looks like is not God breaking the rules. Instead, it is him breaking down misconceptions of what society has created love to be.

God’s love is steadfast. It is limitless. It is sacrificial. It is life-changing. It is beautiful. It is the source of all things good.

God’s love is many things, but it is not reckless. And for that, we should be thankful.


  • Randall S Braley, M.Div.

    By “reckless” the songwriter obviously meant to emphasize that God’s love is abundant, overflowing, without measure, and indeed never cautious. This is biblical. God’s remarkable love was demonstrated in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8). Unfortunately there are those who seem to delight in directing heavy criticism at Bethel music or their ministry in general. I knew a pastor who talked a church member out of going to one of their worship conferences and also basically picked a fight with a worship team member who did attend. In the end he drove their family out of the church, and told me privately we shouldn’t fellowship with Bethel groups because they are not pre-millennial. But that is not a true New Testament test of fellowship. And to spend time nitpicking on trivia like this as the author has, claiming a brother in Christ has badly misrepresented God over a worship song like this, is completely foreign to the New Testament I read. What a sad commentary on today’s church, when one brother judges another over one word in a well-intended song that glorifies God and seeks to reach the lost.

    • Please do not hear contention in these words. I love the sentiment, I love the message of the song, but the word reckless does not describe God’s love. None of the words you used (abundant, overflowing, without measure) to describe what the songwriter was trying to say, have anything to do with being “reckless.” I, as a worship leader have used the song, but words have power and I can’t bring myself to lead a congregation in declaring that God is reckless. In my thinking the word “relentless” is more in keeping with the message of the song, and really does describe the love of God, so that’s the word I choose to use when I sing it. I promise, I am not trying to be contentious here. It is a wonderful, powerful song, and has ministered to many thousands of people. As I look at every other line of the song, they are defining the word “Relentless”. Changing that word would unify us all and be a more accurate description of the love of God.

      • Amen.

        The song would be good apart from the word, but it is so core and so repeated in the song and so wrong I don’t want to sing it.

        The Creator who has perfect foresight cannot be reckless. Take a look through every mention of reckless in the Bible and see whether any could fit with God.

        Relentless seems a much better replacement. There are so many words to describe God’s love, but reckless is not one of them.

      • Thank you for that! I had this discussion with our worship leader and pointed that out. God’s love is perfect! I felt that that one word would completely be misunderstood by a non-believer and could therefore lead them down The wrong path, place a stumbling block in their way. He refused to remove it so, I, as the pianist, sat there and did not participate in that song. I looked out and noticed several others were not participating as well.

    • Agree to, there are bigger fish to fry

    • reckless
      heedless of danger or the consequences of one’s actions; rash or impetuous.

      We should use the adjectives in the Bible to describe God’s love , God’s love is not reckless or crazy. His love is everlasting, unfailing, steadfast.

    • God is such the opposite of reckless. It is a definitely a bad choice of words. We are reckless ones who need saving from our recklessness /lawlessness and need to be put into submission to Gods will . There is absolutely no scripture that God is ever reckless at all ! Thank you God for never being reckless with our souls !!!

    • Excellence does not permit recklessness… what may appear as being without caution to mortal beings on this side of eternity shows a lack of proper understanding due to our mortality. A more viable evaluation of Agape love that despite our many failings God looked beyond them and saw our desperate need for Him.

  • To be honest my friend I’m a little let down that you stooped to this level to write an article on the discussion.
    I think what you have to say is valid but I really feel like the entire argument is splitting hairs and is unessesary regardless of where people stand on the argument. It almost is like click bait. I think the article was well written and well thought out, however, I would say poor topic of choice and I think it simply causes more lines to be drawn within our faith that are unessesary and cause disruption between people because you are splitting hairs.

    • It’s not splitting hairs. It’s addressing the entire concept of the song. Recklessness is not an attribute of God. He never ceases to be one thing to emphasize another aspect of his nature (another concept pulled from A.W. Tozer). For example, He would never cease to be just while executing wrath. His wrath, justice and love are all constant as are any other attribute we may ascribe to him. So, to say He is reckless in His love would mean to say He is reckless in all things. Some people don’t see this as “splitting hairs” but as theological accuracy which is important. That may sound “religious” to many and I won’t create a sidebar by taking that on here but it is in reality worshipful to hold to what is true about God and reject what is false at all times. No matter how bad that truth may sting or how good a false idea may make us or others feel.
      It’s not splitting hairs. It’s important.

      • Amen! I agree!

      • Amen! This is true. We humans are reckless, and we tend to associate our character to God, instead of God being the standard of character. The melody of the song ” sounds nice” but the lyrics contradict His character. His love is not reckless, it is a compassionate love. As stated in Exodus 34: 6, He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, overflowing with loyal love and faithfulness.

      • Thank you for your insight. I belive the young man who wrote this had good intentions and as I like every other aspect of the song, I too can not sing that lyric so I replace it with “endless”! Great article and I don’t see it as devising, I see it as correction based on God’s true character! Only truth can set people free!

      • Amen ! God is not reckless but he saves us from our own recklessness that would have plunged us/ me into hell if it wasn’t for His very special predestination of his elect, and he orders our steps! Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. I am sure that he was not intentionally trying to be reckless in his song but he was and he should ask God himself to show him the truth as he said in his song that God will show him any lue and light up any shadows !!

    • It’s not splitting hairs at all ! God is a consuming fire, and we should fear him!
      He is far from reckless! He saves us from our own recklessness and lawlessness!!
      Emotions saying in a song, no matter how great the emotion is doesn’t matter if it’s not correct in God’s word in fact, it’s the opposite total opposite of what God is!
      The devil is reckless with our souls, and he wants us to be reckless and take the wide path not the narrow path that leads to life! God is not reckless at all. He formed us in our mother‘s room, and he made the heavens in the Earth. He has control over the entire world in our souls, and our death. How is that reckless?

    • I’m sorry, but your response doesn’t make a lot of sense, he’s writing the article because people are splitting hairs over it. So the article itself is not causing division. The song itself is causing it. This article merely brings it to light for discussion.

  • For me personally, when I praise God, I praise Him for His characters, His love and His attributes and what He has done in our lives. Reckless is a negative word (see below definition). God plans for our salvation from the beginning. You can describe His love as amazing, wonderful, everlasting… with all the positive words in the world, why use a negative one? Just because everyone is singing and it has a good tune to it doesn’t mean it’s right about God.

    Will I feel happy when people call me reckless? No, I won’t. So why would I call my God reckless? Why would I describe His love for us reckless? That’s how I feel. But if you want to sing it, it’s your freedom to do so. However, I have my freedom not to sing it too.

    I hope I’m not creating a division. But I need to have a stand in what I believe. I believe that our God is holy, awesome, loving, kind, gentle … etc. with all the positive words that we could comprehend. So, I’m not going to use any unbiblical description to worship God. No matter how popular the song is or what it is suppose to mean.

    (of a person or their actions) without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action.
    “reckless driving”

    rash, careless, thoughtless, heedless, unheeding, hasty, overhasty, precipitate, precipitous, impetuous, impulsive, daredevil, devil-may-care; irresponsible, foolhardy, audacious, overadventurous; ill-advised, injudicious, madcap, imprudent, unwise, ill-considered; informalkamikaze;literarytemerarious
    “reckless driving”

  • I can say that my God is not reckless. He carried me through my daughters recklessness and I endured things that I thought I couldn’t. I have two children. My son stands firm in his faith and when everyone told me to let my daughter go, I didn’t. She has now come back to the Lord. There is no recklessness in God. But I can tell you of the recklessness of my daughter who was almost willing to give up her son for drugs, alcohol, and a man by trying to push me into deserting her where she would have no accountability for her actions.

  • Yes, nothing God does can be reckless since he is omniscient. But from a limited human perspective, it is reckless. From our understanding, there is no good reason to love your enemies. If you do something that you know could physically kill you, most people would consider that reckless. Yet that was exactly what Jesus did for us even though we were his enemies.

    “Throughout the Bible, it is made clear that the creator of the universe is made up of a love that is vast beyond comprehension”

    The speaker of the song calls God’s love “reckless” for this reason. It’s a more artful way to say, “your love is so far beyond my comprehension that it seems reckless to me.” I suppose you could argue that the song could mislead people into thinking that God doesn’t know what he’s doing, but I would trust most listeners to understand otherwise.

  • Reckless is definitely not a word for the love of God. We know that the Bible tells us that our God is a God of order. So he would never be reckless. He made this world perfect and us along with it. It’s only sin that caused what came after. Gods planning and organisation is always perfect. Amen

  • Honestly, this seems to miss the point I get from the song. When I take the chorus in context, it is a good human description of the power, and strength of His love. It puts it into a human light. When I think of a Overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love. I think of someone who will love you to a legendary level, forever, regardless of what you do and what happens around them or you. Of course, God is not reckless, or careless. He knows exactly what he is doing with all things. I think though in this song, you help build the character of that love in a human way. I don’t think that is a bad thing.

  • A lot of what you read in the Bible is the way a specific group of people interpreted reality (Abraham did not have a Bible under his arm)

    The reason why you read in 2Samuel 24:1 that “God made David think it was a good idea to count the people” and in 1 chronicles 21:1 that “Satan rose up against Israel and incited him to take a census of Israel” is because in the hebrew culture whenever God allows something to happen for them it’s like He “causes” it. Remember James 1:13 “God can not be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone”

    So, it is their interpretation of reality what you’re reading. Now, as a translator, I understand that sometimes (if you really want your message to be understood) you may have to use words people could relate to easierly and the song is intended for evangelism… So, I don’t really see the problem as it is the Goodness of God what leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4)

    God bless you and fulfill the plan He has for you

  • Clint Balgobin

    The song is like the cry of a finite human being wanting to express the grandeur and largesse of the Love of God the Father. This article is just trying to process the cry of an expressive heart through a religious and theological mindset which will not comprehend it. God understands the cry of a heart that simply wants to love Him and wants to express it in the most unconventional yet respectful way possible. When we say God’s love is reckless it’s an expression that His love is so great, wild, unlimited, explosive, unexplainable that the best way to understand it is simply by saying it’s like something like recklessness. These are all words used by finite human minds to express the greatness of God’s love. No need to get all religious and worked-up about a heart’s expression of the immensity of the Love of the Father


  • This is a really nice article highly appreciate and recommend.

    People can’t start making self translations and explaining it to others that “that is what it really means” it doesn’t matter how it means to you or me the song is for God.
    For true Christians who are in biblical and expository church… Most suggested for you is rather not support, bethel or hillsong, and many other “so called churches” that seek to please people and their feelings rather than the true priority of worship.

  • I Love this song, it totally minister to my soul. I don’t consider anything about God to be reckless and certainly not about His love. I sing at the top of my voice and replace RECKLESS with PRECIOUS! I can see where the writer is coming from and the words mean to him, whatever he thinks it means to him. Let’s not be too harsh, but continue to lift each other in prayer. My humble thoughts! God Bless.

  • It’s interesting. The word “reckless” could have been replaced with the word “steadfast” and the song would still make sense, be biblically accurate, and most importantly, rhyme! ;0)

    “Oh the overwhelming, never ending, steadfast love of God…”

    Works perfectly well, is totally true, and is completely non-controversial.

    If someone wanted to write a song about how, from a human perspective, God’s love seems reckless at times, then that would be fine. But that not what this song says. It says that God’s love IS reckless, not that it SEEMS reckless.

    The point of the story about the shepherd that leaves the 99 unattended in the wilderness to go after the one is that it is the opposite of what you would expect a good shepherd to do. It is shocking. And from my limited human perspective, it seems reckless. But a primary underlying theological lesson we are to derive from this story is that it is actually NOT reckless for this particular shepherd to act in this way, as God is the only shepherd who can leave the 99 in the wilderness WITHOUT them being placed in any risk. It is impossible for God to lose those who belong to him. All his ways are perfect.

    Unfortunately, the human heart always wants to make claims about God that go beyond what his own self-revelation allows. This is because we desire to explain and understand his nature more fully, but inevitably this quest leads to error. Usually small errors at first that then lead to larger, more egregious errors.

    It’s the way we are, and it is a sign of immaturity when we allow ourselves to indulge these fantasies that are more about making God after our own image and likeness than about accepting him on his own terms.

  • I don’t think the song should be taken as looking at the actions of God, but as the actions the body of Christ should be taking. We, as the church, should be reckless in our pursuit of the lost. All those things that Christ (and the song) uses to describe God, we are called to imitate because we are to be like Christ. Christ did outrageous, reckless, and extremely disruptive things in his society in His pursuit of the kingdom. He knowingly broke traditions and trampled societal norms to reach those who were marginalized.

    We are called to do the same, to be reckless to the earthly consequences in pursuit of the justice and mission of the heavenly kingdom.

  • God usually wakes me up with one of His songs. This morning it was the Reckless Love of God. I have heard it before but it is not a song I would intentionally play – because of the word reckless. So I will meet with Him in Word & song to discover why this song today. I ❤ His never ending teaching, encouragement and LOVE.

  • I can still remember the first time there was a strong reaction to the song “Reckless Love” by Cory Ashbury (2018, I think).

    [Disclaimer: I don’t agree with all Bethel music either] But I personally see this song’s lyrics are straight out of the “trio parables” of Luke 15. One famous preacher started what (I think) was a “reckless” uproar that sadly snowballed into the song’s banning in many churches. Mind you, I (do) believe it is paramount for pastor and church worship directors to be careful about the message of the songs they use and it is always good practice for church leaders to peruse song lyrics and bash them against Scripture to see if there might be any error. After all, not all gospel composers are theologians– I only wish they were.

    The controversy revolved around the choice of the word “reckless.” If anything, it was simply the composer’s use of hyperbole. If you look it up, the Cambridge dictionary defines reckless as “doing something dangerous and not worrying about the risks and the possible results.” Recklessness doesn’t always carry the connotation of thoughtlessness or even being careless.

    Now look closely at Luke chapter 15: The actions of the father in the parable of the prodigal son were (indeed) reckless if you think about it– running out to meet his lost son who once wished he was dead, giving him the very best robe, even his most expensive ring, and going all out with some scrumptious roast beef from calf they’ve been fattening for months now just to celebrate the return of his lost son whom he loved so… yes, “recklessly”. I’d even go out on a limb and suggest, shouldn’t this be called the parable of the “prodigal father” instead? Contextually in both the ancient world and today, that’s somehow offensive to some– for God so loved the world.

    In fact, we have to see the reaction of the other son (the “faithful” one). All three parables in this pericope were given as a reaction to the reckless action of Jesus eating with “tax collectors and sinners.” So the Lord explains, it was reckless for any shepherd to leave the 99 sheep just to run after the wayward one. Also, does anyone really go through all that trouble for one lost coin, and then party like crazy finding it? This second parable isn’t reckless– it’s absurd. The other son’s reaction is more a reflection of the religious leaders. I suggest you look it up– Luke 15.

  • Thank you for that! I had this discussion with our worship leader and pointed that out. God’s love is perfect! I felt that that one word would completely be misunderstood by a non-believer and could therefore lead them down The wrong path, place a stumbling block in their way. He refused to remove it so, I, as the pianist, sat there and did not participate in that song. I looked out and noticed several others were not participating as well.

    • Also…in proverbs 14:16 it says ” one who is wise and cautious turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless ”
      Therefore, according to God’s word, to say He is reckless is to say He is a fool. Reckless is a negative connotation. There is nothing negative about God. “Perfect ” would have served this song better.

  • There is a Doctrine of Jezebel being promoted by “churches” such as Bethel. Like an octopus with many tentacles seeping into many churches. One has to only look at Revelation and the letters to the 7 churches to see this is exactly what is unfortunately happening.
    Through the music it entices once solid believers into a false doctrine.
    Just because Bethel claims to be a church doesn’t mean they believe in or worship Christ.
    They deny the deity of Christ. They say the Bible is not correct and full of errors. They believe they will usher in the millennial kingdom. They deny the power of God. They embrace a “little god” doctrine.
    I could go on and on, but that right there is enough to say “DANGER!” Avoid!
    Sorry but I will not compromise on this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *