I posted the following in a comment at Times and Seasons. I wanted to preserve it to make it easier to find. To get the context, refer to the original post.
The first time I heard the thought that God didn’t love us unconditionally, I was repulsed. I recognized the truth that his arm is stretched out still and if he didn’t love us, that wouldn’t be true. A provocative gospel doctrine teacher along with Elder Nelson’s article still weren’t quite enough to convince me, but I stewed on it.
Finally, I reached an understanding as I walked to church and met up with my ward mission leader. He started telling me about how his grown daughter had a dog that she didn’t care for particularly well. She kept it in a small kennel most of the time and rarely took it for walks or gave it any attention. He asked her why she kept the dog and she said, “Because I love it!” “That’s not love,” he replied. That, for me, was it. It clicked. That daughter may have had some passive emotion toward that dog, but it wasn’t love in any meaningful sense. I don’t know what God feels for Paris Hilton, but I now believe that if a person is unrighteous, they do not enjoy the full measure of His love. The door is open for their return, but that doesn’t change the present condition.
Kaimi’s reminder here on pride is also useful–no, vital! It recalls what I’ve been reading in Hugh Nibley’s biography where I found this quote from Hugh: “God knows perfectly well where we stand…and admonishes us not to despair: what matters is the direction we are facing–the person at the bottom of the stairs facing up is more pleasing to the Father than the one at the top of the stairs facing down.” Pride seems to be an awfully easy way to find yourself at the top of the stairs facing down. Thanks for the reminder.