The key to healing and self fulfilment? God's love.
A few weeks ago, a friend and I were talking about God’s love. Now, to preface this conversation, I must confess that, if anyone in this world has ever thought he could exhaust the Father’s love by going astray, it would be me.
Though I seek the Lord daily, and by His grace have kicked many old, bad habits to the curb, I am still working on having a better, purer, more loving heart and mind. I’ve had many times when I figured God was done with me and wouldn’t help me anymore because I wasn’t getting any better or was willingly turning away. Sometimes, I feared that I was the only one who was in that position.
When I told my friend about my own sins and selfishness, he said he struggled with the truth that God still loves Him in spite of what he’s done. I was taken aback. This particular friend is one whom I look up to and admire for his walk of faith. I genuinely think of him as a much better man than myself. And yet he struggles with the same truth?
In that moment, I found it much easier to reassure him of God’s love for him than to reassure myself of God’s love for me. I had no problem telling him how forgiving, gracious and merciful God is. But still, I struggled to believe it myself solely because I know every selfish, hurtful, mean, dark and terrible thing I’ve ever done. I certainly don’t doubt God’s love, but I do struggle to understand it – how someone like Him could love someone like me.
Yet that’s the ironic, paradoxical, unfathomable, seemingly impossible truth God wants us to grasp – He does love us, and he knows every bad thing we’ve done, too! He loves us enough to forgive us and help us get rid of the sin and shame that has kept us locked up inside heads, our addictions, our bad habits, our self-hatred, our bitterness and our sinful behavior – even the sins we hate and keep going back to.
Some days, it seems easy to say we’re followers of Christ, and other days, temptation seems to knock harder. Yet God is just as good, loving, merciful and gracious every single day. We may not deserve it, but we’ve certainly got His love no matter what.
I do believe, however hard it may be to put into practice, that we’re supposed to show that kind of love to others and ourselves.
Most of you are probably familiar with the political battles that have taken place in Blackwell, including those involving my family and me. Those battles haven’t been pleasant. And though we are still saddened by the friends we lost during those times, we still have love in our hearts for them, this place and everyone here. We have had to forgive many people in our hearts, no doubt, but we still love them. Loving them doesn’t mean everything that happened was OK, and it doesn’t mean we agree with them. Yet we still love them and hope they love us, too.
There’s a lot of healing that needs to take place in this world. It starts right here, in this community, with broken homes and families, broken friendships and workplaces, broken schoolyards and church sanctuaries and broken hearts and broken souls. Jesus told us that the greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves, and that means we’ve got to love ourselves, too. We can do that with God’s help.
The key to healing and fulfillment really all starts with the love of God. We all need it, and it’s available to us all. No matter how bad you’ve been, you’re not exempt. Some may be too prideful to admit their faults, or they may say you’re worse than them, but that’s not the case. We all need God’s love and can have it.
I’ve often found myself totally unlovable, and I’m not alone. Maybe you have, too. So today, I hope you’ll take hold of the truth that you are loved by the One who created you. I’ve been the chief of the doubters and sinners and strugglers and questioners, and yet God still loves me, and I know this. His love is not some make-believe concept that your eyes are reading about right now. It’s the truth, and it can be felt and known – by all of us.
Today is a great day to tell someone you love them, even your enemies. It’s an even better day to show it, too.
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