John 3:16-17- For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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.
Aren’t you grateful for God’s goodness and mercy? His forgiving nature? His unconditional love?
I don’t know where I’d be without it! He is gracious to me in the moments I deserve it least of all. When I stumble, He gently picks me up. When I stop moving because I fear the unknown, He takes my hand and walks along beside me. He knows just what I need when I need it, and never does anything to hurt me. Even His rebukes are soft and kind. There’s no better friend, deeper love, or genuine forgiveness in all the world; we need to spread that around!
So many areas in life are readily available to reveal to us our shortcomings and failures.There are plenty of people around that will somehow remind us of how we don’t measure up to their expectations. We’ll discover things about ourselves that we don’t care for on the regular. Am I right?
See… we’re all the same in that aspect. We need encouragement. Understanding. Patience. Love. Relationship. Kindness. Purpose. As growing Christians, we have to be careful that we don’t focus on the “do’s and don’t’s” when communicating with the world. They need to hear about “Who and what’s.” – Who loves them immensely, and what He did/does to prove that each day.
I discovered a few years back how quick I was to jump on a bandwagon when it came to “standing for truth.” Now, don’t get me wrong- I still VERY much believe in doing that. However, I remember hearing a pastor say this once, and it struck a chord with me, “When you want to say something, you probably shouldn’t; when you don’t want to, you probably should.”
Our flesh likes to jump on in there and put someone in their place when they’re doing something we have no problem with. There’s a sense of self-righteousness that kicks in and we can wrongfully justify that by telling ourselves we’re “witnessing.” But, go back and read the two verses at the top of this page… God so loved the world that He gave what was most precious and perfect to Him. And He did that, NOT to condemn the world… (Condemn- express complete disapproval, typically in public; censure; sentence to a particular punishment, etc.) but that the world might be saved through Him.
We all know there are consequences to sin. There is punishment. But, there is hope! There is salvation! That should be our focus, shouldn’t it? Of course! That’s the focus of the very One Who came with the power to accomplish such redemption! (Matthew 18:12- For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.)
If we could imagine but for a moment, a traveler lost in the wilderness- He took a wrong turn, made a couple careless decisions, ended up on a trail never intended to be walked. He’s scared. He’s cold. He’s hungry. He’s alone. He’s angry with himself. “What if’s,” “how come’s,” and “if only’s” torment his mind. For days he battles harsh temperatures and uncomfortable scenarios. He cries out for help. Screams in agony at the thought of never finding his way to safety and comfort.
Then, all of a sudden, out in the distance he hears a faint sound. He stands motionless and strains to listen again. There it is, a little closer. He realizes it’s a group of voices calling out to him. Someone has come to lead him out of this mess! He yells, “Here I am! Over here!” and within minutes he is surrounded by those sent to find him.
What do you think he’s needing right now? Does he need to be reminded of how foolish it was to wander off on his own? Should he be scolded? Belittled? Left alone? Absolutely not. He should be welcomed. Hugged. Provided warmth, consideration, empathy, and assistance. Most likely, he’s learned his lesson and is just grateful someone was sent at the right time to lead him out of the mess he got himself into.
The “world” is the same. They’re lost. Whether they fully know that yet or not, they know something is off. When we, “the search and rescue team,” if you will is sent to them, we need to offer them the resources that will help them and heal them. God loves them. He doesn’t want to condemn them. He wants to save them.
We’re here to tell them that.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for saving me! Thank You for loving me! Give me patience and compassion for all those surrounding me. Help me shine the light of Your love and salvation each day that I live. May everyone I encounter sense Your presence in my life and come to know You. Give me boldness, courage, and reminders to speak of the hope only You can give. In Your name, amen.