It felt like a good time to revisit this post. It was laying upon my heart last night as I fell asleep. This was originally posted as “Not about us” on September 20th of last year.
So, one of the other things that was really driven home last week, as I was listening to our guest speaker, Bill Vanderbush, was, this guy gets it. He understands one of the biggest things that has changed my Faith. The way I talk the talk, and walk the walk. He gets one of the biggest things our world today is trying to smother. What the world today cannot afford to let people know.
What if, we loved others-the way God loves us?
This is so incredibly important, let me repeat myself, What if, we loved others-the way God loves us?
Now, in order for us to get this from our heads to our hearts, we have to understand how God loves us. So, let’s take a moment to think about how God loves us. He loves us: when we don’t pray, when we don’t worship him every day with all our hearts, when we don’t say thank you for all the amazing things he does for us -every day, he loves us…. Even we don’t know that he’s there (before we become believers or understand the concept of God.) He loves us, even though we still sin. He loves us when we hurt those around us, intentionally or not. He loves us. He loves us, like you love your child. That swelling deep inside your bones, love.
Now, imagine-loving others that way…. Ok, I love my kid when he’s ungrateful and defiant. I love my spouse, even when they lie, whether it’s a little, white lie or something a little more serious. But, what about someone who’s done me wrong? Ok, I forgive that co-worker who stole my project idea… I forgive that jerk who ran into my car because they were careless and texting and driving…
But what about…. Someone who doesn’t believe the same things I do? What about someone who’s a different social/economic class than I am? What about a criminal? What about an addict? What about a murderer?
What about these people? Are we practicing God’s love here? Have we really reached down to understand the depth of God’s love in these situations? It’s all fine and good, when it’s suits us. But what about when it doesn’t? What about when we’ve been hanging on to our hate and prejudices for so long, we don’t know how to let go? To forgive. To love. Those who have wronged us, wronged those we love? What then?
We have to get to the end of Us.
It’s not about us.
You have to get over yourself. It’s not about you. It’s about God. And God loves ALL OF US. ALL OF US.
You have to remember, sin is sin, no matter how big or small. Lie is the same as murder, it’s all sin in God’s eyes. You are no better or worse than anyone else. We all put our pants on the same way, and we all go in about the same size hole at the end of this life. Holding onto that hate and hurt is just closing a door that doesn’t allow God’s love in. And, let’s all just take a moment to act like life’s too short for all that hate. Well, because it is.
In order to understand and exercise God’s love, we need to tap into his grace and mercy. And to understand his grace and mercy, let us remember that he tells us to forgive our brother seven times, and seven times seven, and seven times that. Why? Because if we forgive that much, we’ll lose count. That’s the whole point. God does that for us. How can we expect that God will extend that grace to us, but not to Joe-schmoe over there. Nope, he’s just too bad. Not worth saving… Saying it out loud hurts, but it’s true. That’s what you’re doing. You are saying that, that person is not worth saving. And you need to admit that, to yourself and to God, and ask that he forgive you and let you see that person the way he does. Because you can’t experience everything that God has to offer, until you get past the fact that this is not about you.
Followed by an excerpt from Mercy & Grace:
Because in order for God to show us grace, he must first show us mercy. He must first, not give us what we do deserve. If God didn’t first have mercy, He would be so busy punishing us, He wouldn’t have time to show us grace. And, in our ever present struggle to grow in our faith, and become more like Jesus, we have to take hold of this. We have to understand that to move into the realm of over-abundant, unrivaled grace, we first have to understand that we have to understand this mercy. We have to understand this relentless, abundant mercy of not giving people what they do deserve. If we’re so focused on trying to make sure that people know how wrong or bad they are, how are we supposed to extend grace?
God’s mercy is that if we commit sin, and ask for forgiveness, it is forgiven. Not, He’ll think about it, not He has to go deliberate, decide if you’re sin wasn’t too bad, not have you done enough after asking for forgiveness to determine that you receive forgiveness…. It’s just, you are forgiven. Simple. You are forgiven. You just have to ask for it.
But, let’s also look, at the fact that we had fallen away from God. We had broken our covenant in the garden, and were doomed to wander the Earth apart from God. God was separated. We were sinful things, who couldn’t follow 1 rule. #youhadonejob 😉 But, even after we had fallen, and were cast out of the garden. Did God give up? Well, obviously not. He started a series of complicated events to get us to where we needed to be again – back with Him. He began working everything together for His good, to get His son here, to get us back into His proverbial garden, by sending His son. Why? Because He has mercy. Because He created a God-shaped hole in our hearts, and He knew that we will do ANYTHING to fill it, but He knows that He’s the only thing that can fill it. So, in His Mercy, He sent us the answer to the question all of creation was begging for – where is our creator? What is our purpose? And, that answer, came in the form of Jesus Christ. But, think about that mercy, we didn’t even know how to ask for it, and He knew what we needed, and how to get us there. Also, the mercy involved, in not forsaking us and leaving us to perpetually wander without Him. This mercy, that we take for granted today. Because we do not know what’s it’s like not to have this option available to us. David did. David understood how hard it was to get back to the Father. Jesus Christ hadn’t come yet, so he was perpetually battling to get back from his fall. We simply need to ask.
But, yet, as we continue to grow deeper in our Faith, we also need to understand that some people are never going to ask, or maybe they don’t even know how. So, we need to dig deep, and tap into the Father’s mercy to extend that to them, without their asking as well. We need to understand, that we can’t grow deeper in grace, until we stop focusing on how much punishment everyone needs and how they need to get what they do deserve, because they don’t. And, that punishment, is not ours to give anyway. May He without sin, cast the first stone. For we are all sinners, and have fallen short of the glory of God. And, if we want to understand Him better, and grow deeper in our relationship with Him, and shine His light for others. First we need to start trying to tap into His form of mercy, so that we can extend grace.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You. Thank You that you save us from us. That you have made each and every one of us with a God shaped hole in our hearts that we want to fill with you. That you love each and everyone of us beyond comprehension. That you forgive us seven times seven times seven. That you have an abundance of Grace and understanding that we can tap into to move past ourselves. That you can give us that grace that surpasses all understanding, so we can give it to others. I pray today Father that you overwhelm us with that grace, that we may truly understand how much you love us, so we can love others the way you do. So, we can move past ourselves and be more like you. So, we can shine Your Light into the world that others may want to come to You and know You by Your love, shone in our lives. I pray that we all become shining examples of Your love and understanding and tolerance and grace. I pray that we all become more like you, each and every day. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Can’t stress this enough! You ARE A MISSIONARY!!
Focus on the positive. If you are already doing something, then bless you! Keep on, keeping on!
Ways to reach out, where you’re at:
Make a video of something fun and interesting for those in isolation
Facetime people you know who are in isolation
Are there elderly/older people around you? Save them a trip to the store (next time you go), by picking up their stuff too and delivering it to them
Make masks and donate to local clinics, nursing homes, older people you know (many states have a specific #millionmaskmayday page to find local places that need masks if you’re local clinic isn’t accepting them.)
Participate in #worldofhearts or #we’reallinthistogether by decorating your windows with hearts
Think of something on your own. What can you do to help? Everyone can be a missionary, where they’re at.