Radical Love Is …

Gold Brush Stroke

Lately, I’ve been thinking about radical love—what it is and how it differs from perfect love.

And I’ve been watching others demonstrate such love. I marvel at how despite their failings and imperfections, such individuals give without expecting, reach out without being asked.

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These people exhibit a love wildly different from what culture promotes.

Radical love is …

  • taking in an abandoned infant given little hope for life.
  • providing care to the destitute.
  • rescuing those locked in slavery and persecution.
  • visiting shut-ins and serving in homeless shelters.
  • encouraging others in faith and joy while being sentenced to near solitary confinement inside your own four walls.
  • reaching out to the lost.
  • offering a shoulder to cry on and a reason to hope.

Radical love is not always perfect, but it never ceases to amaze and bless. [←Tweet this]

What moves someone to such a love?

What prompts one to give up comfort, peace, and self-promotion to minister to the forgotten, the downtrodden, the unwanted—to face persecution, illness, and hardship? How are selfish, sinful humans transformed into radiant ministers of mercy?

Many of us go through life never realizing we are those recipients of a radical love poured out for us. In the push to get ahead, do our best, and “make something of ourselves,” we rarely notice the Love that adopts us, rescues and cares for us, visits us in our loneliness, and carries us when we can’t go on. We miss the promise of hope and its resulting joy.

In our pursuit for life, we lose LIFE.

In order to be givers of radical love, then, we must first acknowledge we, ourselves, are its recipients. We’ve been given abounding blessings, amazing grace, and an eternal life of glory, all because of one Man who was willing to give up His life for us.

Radical love begins and ends with Jesus Christ. He authored it, delivered it, and perfected it, all it one supreme act of sacrifice.

As Jesus walked out His earthly life, He taught us about this extreme kind of love. He demonstrated it by not being satisfied with the 99 saved sheep, but continuing His search for the 1 lost (Matthew 18:12). He epitomized it by His willingness to give up His own life to redeem those same sheep (John 10:15).

He didn’t wait for us to draw nearer or to serve Him flawlessly. He didn’t hold out until we gave first or tried harder.

Jesus Christ established a love that depended on only one thing: a willingness to sacrifice by the giver—a desire by the conferrer to serve, to put others first, to deny her own wants.

Practically, then, how can such an attribute be cultivated?

Although our love can never be perfect this side of Heaven, we can love others with a radical love because we were first shown how (1 John 4:19). The Savior demonstrated a love beyond comprehension.

The only way to transform our self-love into self-sacrifice is to emulate that which was already poured out for us. We must study the Lord’s walk as both God and man. We need to dissect His words to the disciples and explore His interactions with those who crossed His path. We have to be open to the guidance and strength of the Holy Spirit.

In order to truly love sacrificially, our focus must be pried off “me.” It must be directed first up, then out. Only then, can we (can I) be a conveyer of a different kind of love.

Love that delivers depraved wretched sinners like me from eternal damnation is the catalyst for this radical love that defies all human understanding.

Lord, please forgive me for my self-centeredness, my blindness to your grace-filled love. Guide me in freely loving as I have been loved. In Christ’s precious name, Amen.

“We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19 HCSB).

Reflection: How has the Lord’s perfect love impacted you and how you relate to others? Do you know individuals who love radically? Feel free to give them a shout out in this posts’ comments. We’d all love to hear about them!

By His Grace,



  1. Court on April 26, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I wish I would let his perfect love impact me more but I think I let it most by allowing him to speak into my life and every now and then being brave enough to listen to his whispers and step out in a lovedare of what he’s asking me to do!

    • juliesunne on April 26, 2012 at 10:53 pm

      Good for you, Court! Stepping out in that lovedare is moving out of yourself to love radically! The more we listen, the braver we become, and the braver we become, the more we love.

  2. msladyg on April 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    I love your posting. I feel as though I sometimes I become an enabler when loving continually. Patience is with me but at time doubts enter my mind & fear into my heart – thinking that radicallove is a fault. There has to be a medium – or is it not up to us to decide? Do we continue to do what we feel is right & leave the rest to Him?

    • juliesunne on April 29, 2012 at 10:21 pm

      Great questions, Ms. Lady G! It is easy to become an enabler in the name of love. I believe radical Christian love, if properly grounded in Jesus Christ, heaps on love, but does not condone negative anti-Scriptural behaviors. In simple terms, love the person, not the sin. Jesus is a beautiful model of this. There are many stories throughout Scripture of the Savior loving on people but calling them to a higher standard.
      Just as in being a parent, we show love to our child sometimes by refusing what they ask or forbidding them to do something. The same concept carries over in regard to loving others.
      I’m not suggesting this is easy. In fact, it is incredibly difficult! We can’t always follow our feelings. But we can model our love after the greatest Lover of all.
      Those who love well, love with abandon, but they don’t throw wisdom out the window, and they draw on the love of Christ to fill their well.
      May the Lord’s many examples of perfect love be guiding beacons for your radical love!

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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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