Ultimately this weekend is about love and sacrifice, forgiveness and acceptance. My heart is full as I contemplate the tremendous blessings I experience in this beautiful life. Life is full of choices which constantly face us wherever we turn. What to eat, what to wear, what to buy, who to befriend, whether or not to work out, how will we spend our money...pretty much everything we do is a matter of choice, particularly here in the United States. Choosing to allow God to guide and direct my life’s course was the smartest decision of my entire existence.
I think often when people are confronted with the idea of allowing God into their lives their minds are immediately flooded with resistance because they have a hard time getting beyond the thoughts of what they might have to give up in order to let Him in. That is partly the fault of Christ-followers today. I think sometimes Christians are so busy broadcasting what they stand against or are opposed to they forget to share the positively awesome and amazing concept of seeking God and developing a relationship with Him in spite of who we are or the life choices we have made or are making.
I have observed Christians protesting so many different things these past few years. Sometimes I wonder if in some way they believe they are being persecuted when they stand on the picket line or join the crowd in front of whatever capital building they are at. I understand the desire to squash all that is not right in our society, it is hard to watch people suffer when I know societal choices are partly to blame. But I do try to stand back and contemplate the bigger picture before I jump in and brainlessly join a protest. I don’t want to be defined by what I dislike. I don’t think God wants me to be.
I want to be known as a loving, accepting, willing servant. Nobody on Earth is better than I am and I am not better than anyone else. God looks at this Earth and sees over 6 billion souls and He loves all of them, wherever they are at. I didn’t enter into a relationship with God because I wanted to change behaviors in my life; and I didn’t stay away from Him to avoid changing behaviors. I entered into a relationship with God because there were some Christian women in my life who cared about me and exhibited a peace in their lives I had never experienced. They did not make me feel like God was only going to accept me when I changed who I was, they caused me to desire the peace of mind and quiet joy they had. Maybe that was a selfish reason to give my life to God, but it was truly the driving force.
I worry people miss out on the love God has for them because they dismiss opportunities to find out Who He is, based on the fact they know more about the things Christians are against than the things God is for. Easter is a dynamic representation of what God is for.
He is for loving everyone equally and unconditionally. Whether you are the lead pastor of the largest church in the world or leading people down the path of degradation, God loves you. When you choose to turn your back on Him. He loves you. When you turn back to Him He is there waiting patiently, arms outstretched. His love penetrates the darkest hopelessness and shines with an everlasting glow. It overrides the ugliest evil and covers past shames. There is nothing on this earth that can dim it or diminish it one bit. He is for love.
He is for people on the right path and people on the wrong path. He is for people who love Him and those who don’t. He is for joy and peace and forgiveness. He is for feeding the hungry, standing up for the abused, and seeking out the misunderstood. He is for accepting people who are different - maybe they are challenged with disabilities or special needs - He is for them, His plan includes them. He is for loving and accepting first and suspending judgment until later or maybe never. He is for sitting down with those we find distasteful and being the first to try to bless our enemies.
He is for forgiving and forgetting. Forgetting and forgiving. Forgiving ourselves, forgiving others, forgiving freely. He is for letting grudges go. He is for trying to see life through other people’s eyes and experiences (didn’t He come in the flesh to experience human life Himself?). He is for believing in ourselves and believing in others. He is for encouraging people to live up to their full potentials. He is for honesty and Truth and all good things. He is for giving gifts and answering prayers. He is for teaching and guiding and helping. He is for serving.
He is for His people going into a very dark world and shining above and beyond pettiness and malice and judgmental attitudes. He is for giving hope to the hopeless and showing individuals they matter despite their life choices. He is for believers who strive to make a positive difference in the world by blessing everyone...yes EVERYONE they come in contact with. He is for Christians who shun the pursuit of wealth and material possessions and instead find pride and joy in the efforts they make to alleviate poverty and to bring others into the family. He is for Christians who teach their children to care about the plight of those around them. He is for Christians who show their faith because they love deeper and harder and more faithfully than anybody else in the world. He is for believers whose faith drives them to stand out from the crowd, to serve in a world where servants are rare. He is for everyone coming to know Him, to have a relationship with Him, to seek peace in Him, to love Him back and to live it like they mean it.
He is for new life, new hope, new freedom, new joy. He is for Christians who dig deep and give their time, their money, their sacrifices to the point where the world stops and says, “Who are these people? What are they all about?” He is for a generation of faithful followers who get up out of the pews and move into the world, spreading hope and cheer and pointing the way as they hold their faith high and pursue everything God has for them. He is for people who understand the world has been deceived into false beliefs about what true success is. He is for making a difference in the world. He is for making the world different. He is for fulfilling promises and meeting the deepest needs.
He is for people who represent all of that so others are drawn to Him because they see the many amazing and wonderful things God is for.