Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Known and Loved by God?

Apparently there's a website out in internet-land that invites people to be unfaithful to their spouses. It matches them up with other unfaithful people (why would you want that?). The site attracted bazillions of users by peddling adultery like it was ice cream. The scandal is that some hackers got into their client base and published the list of names, and now those folks are feeling embarrassed. But of course, God knew it all along. Not only that, God loves all those unfaithful people, just like
he loves all us good, law-abiding folk who would never roll through a stop sign or cuss or have a bad thought. You're in that group, right?

God knows all about us, and God loves us completely. These two thoughts that seem opposed, really aren't. "God is love" says the Bible (1 John 4:8) and that means God loves. John 3:16 explains it this way: God loved the world [that's this nasty, difficult and broken world full of nasty, difficult and broken people] so much that he gave his only Son to buy us out of slavery and give us everlasting life full of joy. God made the first move, and he asks you simply to believe that he exists and that he loves you. Jesus took on all the pain and suffering -- we call that 'sin' -- of the whole world and died in our place, in order to super-glue us to the Father forever. Jesus didn't die for only some sins, and exclude other sins he didn't approve of -- no, wait, he doesn't approve of any sin! They're all covered. He forgives because of his love, not our performance -- his love came first.

Which brings us to a point about each of us: God knows you completely, and he loves you completely. So when you have something to bring to him and ask him to forgive, it's not like he's surprised. He has known it all along, and has been waiting for you to become aware of it, so you will bring it to him. Jesus invites us "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest" in Matt. 11:28. He invites us to lay those burdens down and come into his embrace of love.

So instead of trying to clean ourselves up so God will like us, we can bring ourselves humbly and thankfully to the God who already loves us so much he gave up everything to forgive us and clean us up completely before we asked. Instead of trying to hide from the difficult stuff in our heads, we can bring that heavy burden to him and find real rest. He's waiting.

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