We have a heavenly Father, one who will never leave us, never abandon us; who is always there to catch us when we fall. A Father who is constantly reaching out in love; not in guilt or shame. A Father who’s love spans a thousand years, who is always faithful, always full of grace, and always forgiving. A Father who would rather love us even as we sin, than condemn us.
Recently I was watching an interesting TV show called ‘The Secret Life of an American Teenager’, and during one clip a Christian guy is at this girls house and she’s trying to pressure him into sleeping with her, claiming they can go to confession afterwards. The boy awkwardly responded “[I’m a protestant], we don’t have confession… We have guilt, shame, regret.. yea we have those.”
Ouch. Has the church really become defined by the symptoms of sin rather than by the grace of a loving Father? I sure hope not. But it is true that we tend to judge people for their mistakes, struggling to love them because we don’t agree with their lifestyle. Maybe you don’t, but I know I sometimes do.
But the reality is that despite our judgment, God’s arms are still open wide. Despite the fact that many churches (not all and certainly not mine) push people away because of their sin, God still accepts them. Almost like He’s more worried about a person’s well-being than about their past sins.
In the bible, sinners who came to Jesus left pure; forgiven and healed. Whereas sinners come to church and leave feeling guilty, ashamed or pissed off. Rarely helped.
The Fathers Heart is a heart that is consistently full of love. Full of grace. Full of mercy. In the bible, sinners who came to Jesus left pure; forgiven and healed. Whereas sinners come to church and leave feeling guilty, ashamed or pissed off. Rarely helped. For some reason, the church tends to crucify those who sin, especially when it’s a person who’s already in the church. But God’s arms are still always open, despite the fact that they may already believe in Him. And they’re always still open wide, in forgiveness and love when they don’t.
The fact of the matter is that I’m a recovering sinner, and so are you. And if you don’t believe me, I want you to google “the pharisaical mindset”. We are called to become more and more Christ like (1 Cor 11:1 – “Follow my example, as I [Paul] follow the example of Christ”) in our actions and thoughts – to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Rom. 12:2 – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind”); and we need to realize that is a process! Not an instantaneous action that happens to someone when they so choose.
More importantly, we need to recognize that if God is showing someone love despite their mistakes, maybe we should too. If the Fathers Heart is full of love for the worst of sinners, maybe our hearts should be too.
(To access the entire “Dragon Tramps or Kingdom Heirs” devotional series, please click here.)