(pic credit: ©2017 by crisbaj. Used with permission)

If you haven’t already heard it, there is a new worship song making the rounds in 2017 titled ‘Reckless Love (of God)’ (see references for info).

For some worship Pastors, the song has created a ‘reck-ed’ controversy.

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

synonyms: rash, careless, thoughtless, heedless, unheeding, hasty, overhasty, precipitate, precipitous, impetuous, impulsive

( dictionary.com )


Here’s the ‘Reckless Love’ song lyrics:

Verse 1   Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me * You have been so, so good to me * Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me * You have been so, so kind to me

Chorus   Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God * Oh, it chases me down, fights ‘til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine * I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still You give Yourself away * Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

Verse 2   When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me * You have been so, so good to me * When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me * You have been so, so kind to me

Bridge   There’s no shadow You won’t light up * Mountain You won’t climb up * Coming after me * There’s no wall You won’t kick down * Lie You won’t tear down * Coming after me

(available at: https://bethelmusic.com/chords-and-lyrics/reckless-love/ )

It’s an energetic song, strong rhythm, with God-focused lyrics and play-able for most guitar-based worship bands.

On a personal level, I like the song… I always took the ‘reckless’ as Jesus having died for me (not counting His consequences, Heb 12:1-3 ) so I could be rescued (‘While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’ Rom 5:8).


The controversy popped up on the large ‘Worship Leaders Collective’ Facebook group… started out with the question by ‘JP’;

“Anyone teaching this song to their congregations? If so, I’m really curious where you landed on the doctrine of it. I really like so much of what the song says. I’ve had a bunch of people ask if we can sing this song. I am very, very picky about lyrics, as I think we all should be. In a pastoral role, I serve as a teacher and caretaker. Many congregants will learn their doctrine from the songs we sing at church. So here’s my problem: Jesus just isn’t reckless.

I know that The Message paraphrase has John 12:25 using this phrase of being “reckless in your love”. I’m really having a hard time characterizing God’s love as reckless. As I try to gather my thoughts and determine how I will communicate to my team members why we will or won’t sing this song, I am curious where you’re all at with this.”

The number of responses was astounding…

The issue? … the use of the word ‘reckless’ to describe God’s love, and His actions towards humanity.

Here is Cory Ashbury’s June 14th FB ‘response’ to the kerfuffle:

“Many have asked me for clarity on the phrase, “reckless love”. Many have wondered why I’d use a “negative” word to describe God. I’ve taken some time to write out my thoughts here. I hope it brings answers to your questions. But more than that, I hope it brings you into an encounter with the wildness of His love.

When I use the phrase, “the reckless love of God”, I’m not saying that God Himself is reckless. I am, however, saying that the way He loves, is in many regards, quite so. What I mean is this: He is utterly unconcerned with the consequences of His actions with regards to His own safety, comfort, and well-being. His love isn’t crafty or slick. It’s not cunning or shrewd. In fact, all things considered, it’s quite childlike, and might I even suggest, sometimes downright ridiculous. His love bankrupted heaven for you. His love doesn’t consider Himself first. His love isn’t selfish or self-serving. He doesn’t wonder what He’ll gain or lose by putting Himself out there. He simply gives Himself away on the off-chance that one of us might look back at Him and offer ourselves in return.

His love leaves the ninety-nine to find the one every time. To many practical adults, that’s a foolish concept. “But what if he loses the ninety-nine in search of the one?” What if? Finding that one lost sheep is, and will always be, supremely important.

His love isn’t cautious. No, it’s a love that sent His Own Son to die a gruesome death on a cross. There’s no “Plan B” with the love of God. He gives His heart so completely, so preposterously, that if refused, most would consider it irreparably broken. Yet He gives Himself away again. The recklessness of His love is seen most clearly in this – it gets Him hurt over and over. Make no mistake, our sin pains His heart. And “70 times 7” is a lot of times to have Your heart broken. Yet He opens up and allows us in every time. His love saw you when you hated Him – when all logic said, “They’ll reject me”, He said, “I don’t care if it kills me. I’m laying My heart on the line.”

To get personal, His love saw me, a broken down kid with regret as deep as the ocean; My innocence and youth poured out like water. Yet, He saw fit to use me for His kingdom because He’s just that kind. I didn’t earn it and I sure as heck don’t deserve it, but He’s just that good. Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God. “ (thanks, Corey!)


The huge FB response on the Worship Leaders group (total 83 posts, some very lengthy, many additional replies to posts and replies) from many, many actual worship leaders…

…some ‘throw-away’ responses to the concerns:

<>”Don’t think about it, just sing.”

<> People take things to literal

…some taking issue using the word ‘reckless’:

<> Etymologically, the word “reckless” comes from old English word “reck” meaning to care or pay/take heed about something. To the basic meaning of “reckless”, God cannot be reckless at all since he has his omniscience and omnipotence.

<> But in my opinion, “reckless” does not describe God. If i am not 100% comfortable with lyrics, I don’t lead it.

<> I personally stumble in describing God’s perfect love as “reckless”. It conjures up a notion of carelessness, hastiness, acting out without thinking, ignorant of consequence,

<> And due to the negative synonyms of “reckless”, I’m on the fence.

<> I think it’s catchy, it’s right on… I just can’t get over describing God or his love as reckless.

<> As many of us have said on this thread; We agree with Cory’s premise. We just don’t agree that the word ‘reckless’ is the correct word. The dictionary definition of reckless isn’t what he says reckless is.

…some with a deeper probing of the implications:

<>many had issue with “sloppy wet kiss” (different song, “O How He Loves Us” by John Mark McMillan) because they had experienced sexual abuse so the wording made them uncomfortable, not “religious”.

…and then, some people who rang the bell of ‘worship pastor responsibility to a congregation’: 

<> Reality is there are so many great songs out there, but not every one is suitable in corporate worship and we should be discerning. In my view, our duty as faithful worship leaders is to sing worship music that communicates biblical truth in clear and compelling ways that the present culture can understand and relate to. In this case, I appreciate and value Cory’s response and see his point. My only issue is the word “reckless” carries different meanings… it connotes a certain carelessness in your actions. Careless is in fact a synonym of reckless.


To me, the BOTTOM LINE in all this, represented in one of my contributions to the conversation, is…

“…the final word on ‘use or not use’ in your Congregation rests with you and your fellow leaders on your knees, asking God and responding to how He leads you in your specific community of believers… I DO respect your giving this a hard look, not just popping the tune in your set-list because it’s so popular…


The ‘worship leader’ contributors were wonderfully engaged in thinking and praying thru the issues, and moved accordingly… as they should! I’m encouraged…

A number of years ago, I heard John Wimber give some perspective on a number of historic revivals and Holy Ghost visitations. He said that they didn’t ‘die out’ because the Lord withdrew anything; he said they ‘slowed down’ or moved to obscurity because of deficits in leaders not keeping up with the things that came up along the way, and acting pastorally. “Every movement needs to be well-pastored’ was the take-away.

The Love of God may be reckless, but our leadership should not be so…

written by crisbaj

© 2017 by crisbaj/AdoreTheLord.blog  All rights reserved.


***‘Reckless Love’ written by Cory Asbury, Ran Jackson, Caleb Culver . © 2017 Bethel Music Publishing (ASCAP) / Watershed Publishing Group (ASCAP) (adm. by Watershed Music Group) / Richmond Park Publishing (BMI). All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. CCLI# 7089641


All Scripture references from New International Version unless otherwise indicated.

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