As I look back at all the people that have been the most influential in my life, I notice some very common traits. I am not talking about people who have had an impact simply because I have spent a lot of time around them. I am talking about those people that challenged me to be a better person. I am talking about those people who just being around them filled me with passion, hope and joy. Each and every one of us probably have at least one person in our life that fits this description. I have been blessed to know quite a few of these people, but the first one that comes to my mind is my grandmother.
When I think about my relationship with my grandmother, here are the things that come to mind:
- She was loving and fun to be around
- She was the first to notify me if she thought I was making a mistake, but I never felt like she was judging me
- I could tell her anything without fear of condemnation
- She challenged me and pushed me to be better
- I longed to see her proud of me
- I never once doubted her motive. I always knew that her motive was her love for me and her desire to see me prosper.
In a nutshell, when I was at the lowest points in my life, I would run towards my grandmother and not away from her. I knew she might correct me, and show me some tough love. At the same time, I knew she would never condemn me or make me feel worse about my mistakes. Her loving correction would give me hope that I would overcome my mistakes.
This is exactly how God loves us. While my grandmother displayed God’s unconditional love as much as anyone I have ever known, it doesn’t even scratch the surface of how much love God Himself has shown for us. God’s love has absolutely no end. It has no boundaries. There is nothing too big for him, nothing that He cannot save us from. In our darkest hour, he wants us to run towards Him. He longs to comfort us in our time of need. He longs to embrace us when we are tired and weary. His compassion for us is too great for us to understand.
I have been praying for God to break my heart for what breaks His, and here is what He is laying on my soul. God’s heart breaks for those individuals who have been given a false sense of who He is, and how much He loves us. I believe that God cries for those people who have come to believe that He wants to condemn them and punish them for all of their sins, when the truth is that He sacrificed His own Son so that He would not have to do that. God does not want people fearfully running away from Him, He wants people desperately running towards Him.
Like my grandmother did for me, God wants to embrace you and let you know that it is going to be okay. He wants to clean you up, dust you off, and restore your hope. He wants to prosper you and to give you a future (Jeremiah 29: 11). God doesn’t want you to fear Him so much that you must obey Him, He wants you to love Him so much that you long to please Him.
Romans 5: 8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Ephesians 2: 4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved.
1 John 4: 9-11 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.