We Are Worthy
"Does God love us no matter what?"
I looked up over the rim of my glasses to see a small child standing in front of my desk. It was "free choice" time in our classroom, and while many of the students had chosen to engage in puzzles, games, and movement activities, a small group had elected to take the children's Bible off of our prayer table and sit quietly on the carpet, flipping through its pages.
"Of course," I replied, confident of my answer.
"But what about when people are really bad - when they do bad things - like Eve? She didn't listen to God and ate from the tree. Did God still love her? And if He did, does that mean that we need to always love people, no matter what?"
It was such an innocent question, and one that encouraged not only a classroom conversation among five year olds, but also elicited my own response of looking into my heart and considering the endless nature of God's abundant mercy, grace, and love.
LOVE WITHOUT LIMIT
We see and hear it every day - someone wrongs us or someone close to us, and our rational response is to believe that the negativity created by their actions will come back to them. We resign ourselves to speaking clichés like "karma is real" or "what goes around comes around" while forgetting God's call to practice love of ourselves and others that knows no bounds: "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8).
God's response to the lives of each of His children is with open arms, no matter the magnitude of our sin, and He encourages us to do the same. Ultimately, we are united with our brothers and sisters around us as a result of God's grace, and it is our responsibility to accept others for who they are, practice forgiveness no matter how difficult that may be, and grow in unity as we follow the example established for our Christian lives by the Creator.
JESUS AS SACRIFICE
God, in the form of Jesus Christ, manifested Himself and became man as a way to enter the world as a ransom for many. By the blood shed on the cross by our Savior, we have been saved from the wrath of God and granted His limitless love for our sins, as affirmed to us by the words of John:
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
The cross upon which Jesus was sacrificed is not only a significant symbol in His life, but serves even now, thousands of years later, as a representation of God's never ending love for each of us, no matter our transgressions. Christ is the one through whom our communion with the Lord exists, and it is through our simple affirmation of following Him with the gift of our lives that His promise comes to life and our relationship with God becomes real. While there is certainly no condemnation from above in relation to the presence of sin in our lives, Jesus Christ serves as our connection between this world and the Heavenly home of God, where He appeals to the Father on our behalf and allows for all-encompassing forgiveness, love, and peace to become ours.
KEEPING HIS COMMANDMENTS
Through His words in scripture, Jesus has assured us that when we live our lives in service to God and work to fulfill His mission, we will remain in His love - there is nothing we can do to disqualify ourselves from His care:
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love.
Our responsibility is that simple: love God and our love for one another will become much more effortless. Our connection with one another will be nourished by keeping the commandments of God, and in practicing judgment-free relation to our neighbor, so we will be pleasing in God's sight. The Lord is the only one who is qualified to judge His children, and He chooses not too. Rather than condemning our actions, God continues to choose each of us, to love each of us, and to desire nothing more than for us to follow and serve Him. There is no room for judgment of ourselves or of others as we keep His commandments. Our lives, to be in alignment with His plan, must reflect His love in all times and seasons.
We are all worthy of His love, no matter what.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Rebecca Flasz is an avid traveler, lifestyle writer, and elementary school teacher turned college professor. She holds degrees in Education at the Bachelor of Science, Master of Education, and Doctorate of Education levels and has a heart for teaching others. In addition, she is a passionate free spirit who enjoys a good cup of tea, spending time outdoors with family, and listening to the sounds of wind chimes and singing birds. She believes in writing pieces that are reflective of the loving kindness of Christ, meant to help others feel worthy and loved. You can read more of Rebecca's writing on her blog Sagebrush and Salt.