“For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17

John 3:17: “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Matthew 6:45b, 48: “[God] makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous…Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete.” John 12:47: “If people hear my words and don’t keep them, I don’t judge them. I didn’t come to judge the world but to save it.”

Bible Verse: John 3:17

When I took my first college theater class, one wonderful lesson was that there were no bad or wrong choices. Our teacher, told us that while “some choices Do work better than others,” there was no wrong way to be the character we were playing. Not while we were consciously choosing something: an action, an expression, underlying self -talk. Whatever we did was what we did; it was all good.

Yet we, as human beings, so often think we are wrong, bad, sinners beyond redemption…indeed the Psalmist says, “What is man that thou art mindful of him; the son of adam that thou carest for him?” (Ps 8:4) We figure we don’t count. Yet why would we be here if we were just taking up space? Why would we be here, if God could not use us to help re-create the Garden, originally made for us and all else in creation as a place to live in peace and harmony?

Why would we be here, if not to live into the Holy City, where there “shall be an end to death, and to mourning and crying and pain…” and where “nothing unclean shall enter, nor anyone whose ways are foul or false…” (Rev. 21: 4b, 27). Why are we here like the grass (Ps. 103:5) if not to leave behind us a better world? A world with more love in it than it had before we got here.

My dad abused me as a little girl; others did, too. I remember some of them: my dad’s musician friend. One of my mom’s bowling friend’s sons. A neighbor down the street. An uncle. How could they do that to me, to anyone? And yet the rain and sun fell and shone on all of us. And still does on all.

So we make mistakes, so we make awkward, sometimes even harmful choices, so we are not always the best we can be, so we are not perfect, not complete. But when we love others, especially when we consciously imitate Jesus and His love, we are as complete as we can be. And God understands and loves us, without leaving or forsaking us. (Heb. 13:5) Without keeping score of our sins. (1 Cor. 13:5; Message) Without expecting too much: “He knows we are dust.” (Ps 103:14)

This is hard for me: letting God deal with abusers. “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord, I will repay,” which in Romans 12 is followed by “if your enemy is hungry feed him; if your enemy is thirsty, give him drink.” I’m not sure God’s vengeance is as mean as mine might be. I’m not sure I like this idea of blessing all people with the beauty and provisions of this world. Me, and my dad. Forgiven. Redeemed: bought from slavery to sin (sins big or little) and death (death of spirit, of joy, of life), to abundant life in Christ. Like in Lion, to move from being lost and hungry, to abundance and love.

Ok, I will continue to work on this some more. Forgiveness. It does help me to know that my choices are just choices that I can choose to make differently the next time. Christ gave me, and Everyone, a second chance. Thru’ Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, God’s love wins. We can become who we were made to be. We can help realize God’s Kingdom on earth as in heaven. We can stand in the rain and the sun and know they are gifts from God for Everyone. Thank You, Jesus. “Jesus gave it all; all to Him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow.”

What have you chosen; what will you choose? Think as Christ, and make your Excellent choices.

Blessings, Pastor Bethany

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