‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ John 1: 1-5
My husband and I had the opportunity to see ‘The Shack’ this weekend. What a beautiful movie! Now, I’ve heard that some people have had an issue with the portrayal of God in the ways He was in the movie. Take a minute and put that aside. The portrayal of God’s love for us was heartwarming. How much He loves, EVERY SINGLE PERSON. He sees what past experiences have molded someone into who they become. What’s made us who we are. And He continues to reach out to us. To bring us to Him. To give us HOPE.
I was a single parent the majority of my kids live’s as minors. I tried to instill in them as they were growing up to realize that although someone may be acting unkind, to keep in mind that we don’t know what their home life was like. To be honest though, there are times I need to take the same advice. There was a part in the movie-which I won’t fully described in case you haven’t seen it yet-that the main character was called out for how he tended to judge people…and how that is for God to do. But it’s not something God takes joy in doing.
We are each His children, regardless if you-or the person that annoys you-believes in Him. Jesus died for every single person ever born. Everyone tends to know what John 3:16 states. What about John 3:17? “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.’ The only unforgiveable sin in the eyes of God is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. For a person to commit this they would have had to have a heart of disbelief and unrepentance to their dying breath.
Jesus told several parables-three of these parables…the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son each describe God’s heart towards us…In each parable He tells of the joy when the lost sheep/coin/son is found or returns. In concern to the lost sheep He says-‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” And in the parable of the prodigal son He tells how the father reacts when he sees his son in the distance; ‘But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.’
What comes to my mind, especially with the prodigal son, is that through all this God isn’t asking us to wait until we change to come to Him. He knows we are going to go off the path. And if you haven’t come to Him yet please know that He already knows everything we have done in the past. Everything. He knows everything we’ve ever thought about doing or what we’ve thought about other people. He knows the best of us and the worst of us. And He loves us just as much on our worst day as He does on our best day. That’s why the father ran to the prodigal son to welcome him home, not to condemn him for his poor choices but to welcome him home with loving arms. And that is what God is doing. He’s waiting for us, nudging us to recognize His presence in our lives.
One of my favorite scriptures is when it tells us that God is ‘no respector of man’ (Romans 2 and Acts 10). What does that mean? He has NO favorites. He loves YOU (and me) just as much as he loved/s Mother Theresa or a newborn baby who has had no chance of doing anything wrong. Or how much Jesus loved his mother Mary. Can any of us say the same? We can do our best to not treat one person different from another but we do.
I’d love to say that there’s a chance that there is someone that can love the way Jesus does but it’s just not realistic. We react towards people with the history we have had in our lives. Even toward those we may not have even met before. We can react toward specific individuals or people of a certain group with a hard heart due to those past experiences. However, our experiences does not make it ok to react to someone with less than a loving heart. The only way we can do this is through the power of the Holy Spirit. Especially when there is a history of being hurt.
The reason I’m bringing up how we treat people is because we are called to ‘make disciples’ (Matthew 28: 19-20), we are a chosen people called to proclaim God’s excellence (1 Peter 2:9) and we are to share the ‘Good News’ (Romans 10: 14-15). We need to continually, daily, ask Jesus to work in us and through us to make us more like Him. Make us more like HIM so we can bring others to Him and ultimately-heaven. God does not wish for anyone to be condemned and neither should we. Too often the less than loving behavior of some Christians turn people away from Jesus rather than towards Him. Let us do our best to allow God to work through us to touch people for His kingdom rather than trying to do it of our own accord.
I would also like to address those that may not have given their lives yet to Jesus. PLEASE, do not allow the behavior of some people keep you away from Jesus. Christianity may be classified as a ‘religion’ but it isn’t. It is a personal and intimate relationship with God-Jesus-the Holy Spirit. And as I stated in Sunday’s blog (Encouraging Eachother) the church is filled with people…and people are faulty. We ALL fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We all have good days and bad days and that includes people within the church. Ask God to show you that He is real. If you want to read the Bible (and I encourage you to), ask God to give you understanding, to open your eyes to what He is trying to tell you. The Word of God is alive. I encourage you to find out for yourself. Best of all, find a church that teaches the entire-infallable Word of God.
Life with Jesus is truly different-better than it is without Him. With Him we have Hope. I pray that God will open your heart, mind and spirit to His presence in your life. May He pour out His blessings upon you.
In Jesus’ precious name.