In the New Years sermon at our church, the Pastor mentioned what he thought were 2 of the most dangerous phrases in the Christian language:
1) I think (versus What God Says in the Bible)
2) I feel (versus What God Says in the Bible)
Following up the blog about forgiveness from 2 weeks ago, that there is a level of forgiveness modelled in the church that is not modelled in the Kingdom (of God) and that is called tolerance, not forgiveness. I would like to add one more phrase to the lineup of things that are dangerous to think and feel and that would be the phrase…
3) I/you deserve
In my thinking, if someone hurts me, they do not deserve my forgiveness. They hurt me so they deserve not to be trusted, not appreciated, not associated with and certainly not loved. I will forgive them but do not expect me to talk to them again. My friends, this is tolerance at it’s finest, let me stress… this is NOT forgiveness.
At work, if I have given my best, and gone over and above what my bosses expect, then for sure I deserve to get a raise or even a bonus! How disappointed I am when that does not come forth.
Many of us are trying to earn God’s blessings instead of enjoying the blessing of God Himself.
God does not work that way.
What does God say in the Bible?
“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:14-16
Why did God send the Son to be the Savior of the world?
Not because we thought it, felt it or even deserved it – because as it says in the last line: God is love.
It was not because of anything I or you did, could do or even think or feel like doing; no earning, deserving, thinking or believing.
If I live my life like there is a score sheet, then that means that I have to keep earning more and more points to get God’s approval. It is not like that.
I can never, you can never be good enough, love enough or even deserving enough by anything that you can think, feel or do.
Let me give you an illustration:
You bring your new baby home from the hospital, you feed him, cuddle him, you run to check on him and pick him up every time he cries. One morning you walk in to find a really disgustingly poopy diaper. What do you do? You change him.
Why did you endure that disgustingly poopy diaper? Was it because the baby earned the right to have his diaper changed? Was it because he deserved it? He certainly was too young to ask you to change him. Why would you go out of your way to make that baby more comfortable and endure touching, smelling the ick?
This is your child, you love him and want to make him more comfy and you will go through a lot of ick for your child.
My friends, you are God's child. God already loves you, He loved you before you even knew about Him, He loved you before you had ever done one thing for Him and He will continue to love you because God is love.
If you are working so hard to gain God’s approval by what you do – PLEASE STOP.
He already loves you.
“Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore, tell her to help me.
And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:39-42
I have to admit that I am more like Martha – working so hard to get the credit, earning my way instead of knowing that my way is already paid for.
It is God’s plan, it is His Way and we cannot improve upon it, no matter how much we believe we deserve it. He even laid this out in clear directions, but some of us think we know a better way! (much like not following directions)
Now the opposite can be equally as true: when bad things happen to us, we believe that God is punishing us because we must have deserved it. We try to fix it or us, we bargain with God, we plead with Him.
If we continue on with our illustration of our baby, will my child have to endure hard things in life as he grows? Of course he will - life is hard.
What does God say?
“In this life you will have tribulation.” John 16:33
It is not a matter if you will have some troubles, rather a matter of when and I for one would rather go through them with God than without.
What if, we believed that no matter what happens in our life, good or bad, that God is for us and that He loves us? We are His children and we do not have to make Him love us, because the truth is, He already does - He proved it on a cross.