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 Dictionary.com 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 Dictionary.com 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.

12 comments

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    Reck·less
    ˈrekləs/
    adjective
    (of a person or their actions) without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action.
    “reckless driving”
    synonyms:

    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

  • listen guys,,, GODS LOVE IS NOT RECKLESS,,, AND TO SING IT IS REALLY STUPID,,, EVERY TIME I HEAR IT ON THE RADIO I FEEL MAD,,, I WAS A SATANIST FOR 11 YEARS,,, LEADER OF THE BLACK HOOF IN BUCYRUS OHIO,,, HIS LOVE CAME DOWN DURING A RITUAL AND CHANGED MY LIFE,,, CORY ALSO SAYS IT BANKRUPTED HEAVEN,,, HAHAHA THIS GUY MAY NOT EVEN BE SAVED,,,, BUT I KNOW SATAN LOVES TO HEAR THAT SONG,,, RECKLESS,,, YEA RIGHT,,,

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