Psychologist Carl Rogers (1902-1987) coined the phrase “unconditional positive regard” to describe the attitude he believed a therapist should express toward his client. According to Rogers, this involves showing complete support and acceptance of a person no matter what that person says or does. The therapist places no conditions on this acceptance.


This is a really hard thing to do for another person. But it’s a beautiful thing when it happens. Hopefully you have at least one person in your life who regularly expresses unconditional positive regard for you.


But the only one we consistently experience this from is God.


I know that the phrase “unconditional positive regard” isn’t found in the Bible. But maybe it should be! Because it captures God’s love so well.


God loves us

  • with patience and compassion
  • as we are: suffering, confused, broken
  • without manipulation or judgment


God is really good at unconditional positive regard.


It doesn’t roll off the tongue, I know. Can you image the following benediction?


May the unconditional positive regard of God be with you this day and always.


I won’t be saying that at the end of a worship service any time soon. But I think it is a helpful way to think about our relationship with God and our relationship with other people.


Who in your life treats you with unconditional positive regard?


How have you experienced the unconditional positive regard of God?


-Written by Rev. Amy Miracle

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  1. Debbie Lewicki September 13, 2023 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    I hear God’s embracing, and unconditional positive regard in these beautiful words of George Herbart’s 23 Psalm. Blessings to all. Debbie Lewicki

    “The 23rd Psalm” by George Herbert (17th C)
    The God of love my Shepherd is,
    And He that doth me feed,
    While He is mine, and I am His,
    What can I want or need?
    He leads me to the tender grass,
    Where I both feed and rest;
    Then to the streams that gently pass:
    In both I have the best.
    Or if I stray, He doth convert,
    And bring my mind in frame:
    And all this not for my desert,
    But for His holy name.
    Yea, in Death’s shady black abode
    Well may I walk, not fear;
    For Thou art with me, and Thy rod
    To guide, Thy staff to bear.
    Nay, Thou dost make me sit and dine
    Even in my enemy’s sight;
    My head with oil, my cup with wine
    Runs over day and night.
    Surely Thy sweet and wondrous love
    Shall measure all my days;
    And as it never shall remove,
    So neither shall my praise.

  2. Martha Campbell September 13, 2023 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    The beauty of poetry alongside the wisdom of the scripture. It doesn’t get better than that!

  3. Betty Lou Stull September 13, 2023 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Jesus did this really well, but when I attempt it, I wonder sometimes if it’s perceived as authentic. I guess I’m probably overthinking it, and your blog gives me permission to keep trying no matter what. There’s no possibility however, that any human, myself included, could exemplify unconditional positive regard to the extent that God does.

  4. Amy Miracle September 14, 2023 at 7:59 am - Reply

    Debbie, thank you for sharing this beautiful interpretation of the 23rd Psalm. It speaks so specifically of God’s unconditional love and care for us all.

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