The Disgusting Thing This Guy Did For His Daughter
I read about a guy today who gave up on love. In the third grade he decided “love was for girls,” which might be kind of funny except he continued his boycott of love all the way through high school. He even refused to sign greeting cards, “Love Ed.” Instead he signed them, “From Ed”–just to get his point across. Love was out. From was in.
But then he grew up. He got married. He had a daughter. And his daughter was sick (in a public place, I imagine) and he found himself in a situation where he had to catch her vomit in his cupped hands. So, as disgusting as that is, he resisted the natural inclination to run the other way, and he did it. He cupped his hands and caught his daughter’s vomit. He did it for his daughter.
He did it for love. (Ed Stetzer)
How God’s Love Came First
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
You know, there are many people who believe God sent His Son Jesus into the world as a sacrifice so He, God the Father, would be free to love us. That’s messed up. The thinking is that because of our sins God is unable to love us. Unfortunately that thinking fits perfectly with the way so many view God. So many see Him as angry, and waiting for us with a cosmic wooden paddle behind His back ready to punish. And the thought of Him triggers memories. Bad memories. Memories of bad models of power and authority. Those bad models of power and authority can dance in our heads when we think about God. But that’s not what He’s like at all. John 3:16 starts with,
“For God so loved the world…”
Jesus didn’t die to enable God to love us. God loved us first. He loved us so much He “gave his only Son…” He gave His only Son, to reconcile us to Himself. And He wants to reconcile because He loves us.
And to believe in Jesus is the only requirement for that reconciliation. “…whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Eternal life. With God. In Heaven. Forever. Believing in Jesus is the only requirement, making God’s offer of reconciliation completely available to anyone.
So the real problem concerning reconciliation with God isn’t that we do what we know we shouldn’t do. The real problem with reconciliation with God occurs when we spurn God’s offer to reconcile. And Jesus Christ is that offer.
Sure, But After What I’ve Done…
“Sure,” some of you might be saying to yourself right now, “but after what I’ve done, after the horrible mistakes I’ve made, there’s no way God will ever take me. There are so many who are better than I am that God will take them before He’ll take a person like me. You just don’t get it. You don’t understand what I’ve done, where I’ve been, the depths I’ve sunk to.”
It’s understandable to think that way because that’s how the world works. The world is all about competition. Apply for a job, apply to a college, go out for a sports team, so often life is about performing and competing. But that’s not how God works. And that’s not what’s written here in John 3:16. He says the word “whoever” to describe who can accept His Son. “Whoever.” That word is used without qualification. It’s simply not a competitive process. Paul is one example of what that word “whoever” means. He murdered Christians. But God even forgave Paul. Have you murdered any Christians lately? I didn’t think so. But even if you have, God forgave Paul so He will forgive you.
“Whoever.” That’s God’s word, the one he uses to describe Paul. And the word he uses to describe you and to describe me. “Whoever.”
And then, as if to say, just in case you’re still doubting, in the next verse He removes all doubt. He says,
“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.” (John 3:17)
I wrote a series of posts called Love Like Jesus where I researched every encounter Jesus ever had with anyone in the four gospel accounts of his life. You know what I found? When Jesus encounters a sinner, he never condemns them, ever. This is what irked the Pharisees so much. “This man receives sinners…” they said–with great irritation. And, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” they asked. And, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” (Luke 15:2, Mark 2:16, Luke 19:5-7)
They hated that about Jesus.
Jesus was full of grace toward every sinner. Check for yourself. In every encounter you’ll find grace and love. He didn’t condemn, or attack, or judge sinners, except for those who were leading people astray as the Pharisees did. Not that he doesn’t care about our sins: God cared enough to send His own Son to free us from them. But God’s not about condemnation, and He states that plainly in John 3:17. God so loves us that He’s providing the way to avoid condemnation. He waits for us as the father does in the story of the prodigal son. He waits with hope and love. He waits hoping he’ll see you coming to him.
And he will celebrate when you do.
(If you have questions or just want to talk about what you’ve read, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
References and Resources:
Ed Stetzer, Compelled by the Sacrificial Love of Christ, Christianity Today, July 6, 2012
[Image via Green Kozi – Creative Commons]