Have you ever been overwhelmed by something? It could be emotion, sorrow, grief, excitement, terror, compassion, generosity, passion or a hundred other things. This word has been, historically, used in a negative context. It means to be buried or submerged or destroyed or wrecked. This was used as a nautical term, conjuring the image of a boat being flooded with water and eventually submerged. Today this word is mostly used to mean “to overcome by emotion or feelings” (thank you Dictionary.com).
Now that we’ve had this brief etymology lesson, let’s move onto the Jesus portion of this post.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a hot mess of a person. I am a sinner, I have missed the mark, I’m not perfect and I screw up consistently. Yet Jesus loves me. And this isn’t conditional based on how I’m acting or how many minutes I prayed today or how many chapters of the Bible I’ve read or how much money I’ve given away; He loves me because He loves me. This is a hard concept for me to grasp, which is why I have to tell it to myself over and over and over again. It’s so much easier to think of grace and love as things that are based on actions. In our skewed perspective, we think we have to earn love. “If I do ______ then they’ll love me. Or I can’t be loved by God because I _________.” Fill in the blanks with whatever most applies to you.
I am so incredibly thankful that God chooses to use people who are screwed up. If you look through the Bible at who we consider to be heroes of faith you’ll see cheaters and adulterers, murders, liars, polygamists, gossips, and jealous people to name just a few. Yet God loved them. His grace was sufficient for them and it’s sufficient for you and me.
Over the past few days I’ve felt overwhelmed by God’s compassion for people. There are billions of people alive today and there have been many billions that have already died. That’s a number of humans that I can’t even comprehend. Each of these precious people has a soul and were created in the image of God. Out of those 7 billion who are still alive, God wants all to know Him. He doesn’t care about background, race, sexual orientation, sins, class, or any other dividing issue that is so often brought up.
Today I am praying for the church. The church is meant to be a group of people who are overwhelmed by the grace and love of God. In the Bible, the church is described as the bride of Christ, betrothed to the one who loves her dearly despite her past. Yet, most of the time, we fall incredibly short.
If you are a Christian, stop holding people who don’t know God to your standards. You can’t expect them to live in a way that is outside of their ability. Love them where they are. If you are part of a church that is divisive and hurtful, please stop it. Read through the Book of Acts and what Paul wrote to the church about division and meditate on that.
If you’re not a Christian, if you don’t know God, (or even if you do) I want you to know that he loves you immensely. He loved you so much that he was willing to lay down his life so that your relationship with God could be restored. He took away your sin and shame and, in return, added his perfect, righteous life to your account. It’s as if he paid for all of your debts and gave you an immense credit in return. If you believe this, that you’re a sinner, you need a savior, and agree to follow Him and make him Lord of your life, you will be saved. It’s that simple. If you’re interested in this or have more questions about it, please let me know and I’ll be happy to talk with you or go talk with someone at a local church. Being part of a healthy, loving, church community is vital in walking with the Lord.
I suppose what I’m trying to convey to you is that God’s grace is like an ocean, it’s vast and deep. There are portions that we can understand, but there are depths that are beyond our comprehension. Grace can be frightening and exhilarating all at the same time, but if you haven’t experienced God’s grace, I encourage you to take the plunge. His grace is sufficient for you.