But God loved the world
John 3:16-17 For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son … God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
Romans 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
James 1:16 Every good and perfect gift comes down to us from God our Father.
When I was in high school and in awe (I still am) of my later to become sister-in-law Elaine, we had a (for me) eye-opening discussion of John 3:16-21. I was steeped in judgment—my parents judged me, my school judged me, I judged myself—always as inadequate and unworthy of love. I naturally believed God viewed me the same way. I had no concept of him as a loving Father.
Elaine showed me in these verses and John 5:24 that people’s natural state was judgment, but God had done everything necessary to change that. All we had to do to pass from death to life (John 5:24) was to accept God’s love through Jesus’ life and sacrifice in our place.
Sometimes I forget and continue to judge and condemn myself. This Advent, I’m asking God to take me to a new level of understanding of his love for me as my Father NOT based on my performance. I’m trying to listen more to his words of love and less to my own inner critic.
What about you? What do you long for from your Father in this season of gift-giving?
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”