Fully Known and Fully Loved
Posted by Logan Gates on August 31, 2017
Logan Gates is an itinerant speaker with RZIM Canada.
Summer may be winding down, but things have been in full swing with RZIM Canada over this past month. We’re both enthusiastic and humbled that our relocation to downtown Toronto has gone forward so smoothly – we’re thankful God has opened these doors and excited to continue getting settled in our new neighbourhood!
This month I’ve had the chance to speak at churches in Toronto, the US, and Peru with RZIM’s Latin America team, but a particular highlight I’d like to share was our “ReMind Conference” in Detroit, from August 4-5th.
Over 400 young adults (ages 18-24) from across the US and Canada joined us for “ReMind” this year, which had the overarching theme of “Clarity in a Culture of Confusion.” Students heard eight talks on some of the most pressing questions of our times, such as suffering and depression, love and sexuality, and faith and doubt.
At the conclusion of the conference Abdu Murray gave a call for students to come forward who wanted to either commit their lives to Christ for the first time or to rededicate themselves to Him. Movingly, at least twenty did so. In that time I prayed with four young men who had each felt a deep conviction that God was calling them to change the direction of their lives – to turn from sin and live for God with a commitment they hadn’t had before. One of these students came forward literally weeping with remorse. I was able to pray for him, for assurance of forgiveness from the cross, the gentleness of our God who “a broken reed…will not break.” It was a humbling moment to be a part of as God’s love broke through for this young man in deeper way. He left visibly encouraged.
It strikes us as counterintuitive to think that conviction of “sin” could lead to a deeper grasp of God’s love. I spoke with a professor last year at Arizona State University who, when he learned I “believed in sin,” asked why I felt the need to “go around making people feel bad about themselves.”
It’s been said that our culture has a sense that “true love is love in the absence of judgement.” But New York City pastor Tim Keller points out that in the context of relationships, this isn’t usually the case. He reasons, “to be fully loved but not fully known is superficial,” because you can always wonder whether that person would still love you if they knew who you really were! But then he adds, “to be fully known and not loved is our greatest fear.” What could be worse than having someone see us to our depths, and then reject us for what they see? But lastly, “to be fully known and fully loved – that is our heart’s deepest desire.” To be seen for who we are, brokenness and all, and to be told, “I see who you are, and I love you,” provides a security and peace that cannot be taken away. Michael Ramsden likes to say, “true love is love not in the absence of judgment, but the presence of it.”
The Christian faith alone speaks of a God who sees us to our depths, who sees our sin, and yet chooses to love us with the most radical outpouring of Himself. Nowhere is this clearer than at the cross, where Christ willingly bears the crushing weight of our sin, that we might step into the “newness of life” of a restored intimacy with the one who loves us with a true love – living no longer for ourselves but for God.