Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
“Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change.”
I think that it is safe to say that most of us would benefit from behavioral changes. The changes that I am talking about are in our control, changes that would assist us in living a more abundant life. The achievable behavior changes might include watching less cable news, more intentional exercise, eating less sugar, volunteering at a non-profit, or communicating more directly with our loved ones.
From birth to death, we are a work in progress. We are co-creators with the one who gave us breath and life. But make no mistake about it, the primary author of your story is not God; it is none other than you. To this end, you were given the gift of free will. That free will has limits. You cannot choose to turn back time or to escape the reality of aging. And many outside factors will either assist you or hinder you as you navigate the journey of life. It is a crap shoot, a lottery, and we all are dealt or inherit a hand that must be played. Life is a gift, but life is inherently unfair. Get used to it, and get over it.
I think that it is safe to say that most of us would benefit from behavioral changes. If that is true, if changes need to be made, you must realize that God will not make them for us. It is up to us to change our behavior and thus change our story.
Through the ages the church has sought conformity of thought and behavior. To that end, there were hundreds of spoken and unspoken rules to facilitate conformity. The intention was mostly honorable. If the common people were kept in line by societal norms, then life would be more predictable and safer for all.
The problem occurred when the church equated good behavior, good behavior as defined by the church, with the love of God. It was assumed that God only loved those who conformed. God’s love was therefore transactional. God’s love was something to be earned. This was a terrifying proposition for those who did not conform, did not measure up, failed in the eyes of the church, common sinners like me.
The American Franciscan Priest Richard Rohr once wrote, “Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change.”
God loves you! Get it? Got it? God loves you as you are, broken and sometimes pathetic. God loves you, and God desires only good for you.
Don’t think for a moment that you control God. You do not have the ability to ruin God’s day, and you do not get a say in your salvation. But when it comes to your life, you are the primary author. The pen is in your hand, and the change that needs to happen in your life is known to you.
God loves us. We must learn to love ourselves. so that we can love each other.
See you in church.
A GREAT BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION!
Thanks to everyone for wearing vests, for celebrating with me and for the wonderful cards. I am blessed. Thank you!