God Loves Who You Are
“Addie, how can you be so stupid? You can’t seem to do anything right.” These were the kinds of words that eight year old Addie was used to hearing. She had come to believe that this was who she was. Addie had been in four foster homes. As much as she tried to do things right, she was clumsy and couldn’t seem to please anyone that she had lived with. Her biological mom had died from overdosing on drugs and her dad wanted no part of her. Again, Addie was placed with still yet another foster family. Their names were Bob and Jill. Addie decided that if she would just stay in her room that maybe she could finally please her new family. She was asked to come to the dining room table for dinner. As soon as she began to pull her chair out to be seated, she turned over her drink. Her tea flowed over the table and down to the floor. Addie grabbed her face and was ready to cry when Jill softly said, “Addie, it’s okay.” Jill quickly grabbed a towel and blotted up the liquid. When the mess was cleaned up, Bob prayed over their food, “…Father, in Jesus’ name, thank you for the privilege of having Addie in our home. She is a beautiful gift to Jill and me. Surely, You made her a special blessing to our family. We love who she is… Amen!”
Addie felt joy flood her heart. “How could they love me for who I am? I am clumsy and can’t do anything right.” Addie had never heard anyone say that they loved her. Bob and Jill daily affirmed Addie even when she accidently broke the vase, turned over the bird cage, forgot to turn off the water flowing into the tub, and many other careless mistakes. Addie soon believed that she was truly loved and accepted for who she was. She experienced an unconditional love. Addie became confident that Bob and Jill loved her and the God of the universe loved her more. The clumsiness stopped and Addie grew into a young woman who knew that she could love God and others because God had “first loved her” (1 Jn. 4:19).
Multitudes of people may have sung “Jesus Loves Me,” but have not experienced that love. We see children through adulthood attempting to fill their need for love with tantrums, anger, depression, music, video games, alcohol, drugs, porn, sex, violence, crime, etc., which often leads to imprisonment and/or death. The need to be loved is further withheld due to their behavior. What would happen in their lives if they could find a Bob or a Jill like Addie found; someone that would love them unconditionally. Oh, if they could only experience God’s love – a love that gave His only begotten Son to die, not for the righteous, but the unrighteous. God loved man unconditionally, loving who we are, sinners. As man responds to God, Who is love (1 Jn. 4:8), accepting Jesus as Lord, he becomes “…a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
I had the joy of preaching Jesus Christ every week at the Hamblin County Jail for two years. Some of the women were murderers, thieves, used and/or sold drugs, etc. I chose to love them for who they were. They experienced the love of God flowing through me. One girl asked me during one of our Bible studies, “Why would you take your Saturday mornings and spend time with us?” I answered, “…Because I love you.” She began to cry, and I had the joy of leading her to Jesus. Man cannot love God or man until they have experienced the love of God. When they do, they will be who God designed them to be. They will know that they can love who they are because God chose to love them. We read in Ephesians 3:17-19 (Amp.), “May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make his permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God himself]! (See v. 20&21). (To be continued).