We can’t make others do what they don’t want to do. Sure there are evil forces of influence. In war, countries may use torture to “make someone talk”. At an asylum, they may give heavy doses of medication to “make one quiet”. And yes, one may have the physical power to make someone do something else. But what about making (forcing) someone to believe you, or respect you, or honor you, or even love you? It’s impossible; isn’t it?
We’ve probably all been through the experience as teenagers where we naively wanted someone to fall in love with us. We may have prayed, or sent gifts, or tried to be what they would like, but no matter what we did; we couldn’t make them love us. Sometimes in marriage one spouse drifts apart while the other hopelessly tries to do everything they can to make the other still love them. Sometimes it is as a parent; where they nurture their child, teach them, train them, do everything they can to make the child happy, but the child still chooses later in life to abandon their parent. It is one of the most difficult, saddening, heart breaking things to endure in life… loving someone with your all, and not having that love reciprocated.
God cannot make us love Him either. Created in His image we have free will (Gen. 1:26-31). God has commanded us to love Him. It is the greatest commandment that God has ever declared (Mk 12:29-30). Yet we should love Him regardless of the command shouldn’t we? Considering He first loved us (I Jn 4:19), considering all that He has done for us (Gen. 1:26-31), we should naturally want to love God shouldn’t we? We have life because of God (Gen. 1:26). We have truth because of God (II Tim. 3:16; Jn 8:31-32). We have beloved cherished relationships –our spouses, children, parents,siblings, brethren, friends, etc. - because of God (Gen. 2:18-25; Ps. 127:3; Eph. 6:1-3). We have forgiveness (salvation) because of God (Romans 5:8). We have faith because of God (Rom 10:17; Heb. 10:22-23). We have hope because of God (Heb. 6:11&19). We know love because of God (I Jn 3:16). What good do we know or have, without it being from God? And yet… it’s not enough.
What is it that keeps us from making God first in our lives (Mt. 6:24; 33)? Why, considering all God is and has done, can we not give Him undying, unrelenting, unequivocal love? What more do we want? What more, if we asked God for, and He gave unto us, would we want? Is our appetite for the world (I Jn 2:15-17) so insatiable, that we will never be satisfied with God’s love (Pro. 27:20)?
Shakespeare wrote plays and poetry of unrequited love, and he is regarded as a genius unmatched in time. Yet Shakespeare has nothing on God! God wrote the book on unrequited love, long before Shakespeare was a thought. God has loved in a way that man never has (John 3:16). He has loved to a degree that we cannot comprehend (Eph. 3:17-19). He has taught of love (I Thess. 4:9), been the example of love (Eph. 5:1-2), and been the tragedy of love (Luke 23:34) in a way which we never will. God is love (I Jn 4:8), and those who love Him must do so with ALL of their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Is anyone, or anything, more worthy?
God cannot make us love Him anymore than we can make someone love us. But He has given us EVERY reason to love Him, none more fundamental than that He is our Father, our Creator. Without a reason to not love God – keeping His commandments without burden (I John 5:3) – I ask you today and for eternity; what will be your excuse to not love Him?