Wow, no pressure huh!?
It might help if I explain how I came to this conclusion. Throughout the year I have been involved in various study groups with my church. One such group focused on teaching us that we are beloved. That there is nothing we can do that will cause God to turn his back on us. In these discussions I was somewhat astonished at how many essays and blogs and books have been written about this subject. Everyone seemed so surprised and honestly I can say that in the past I have taken this for granted.
It never occurred to me that it could be any different. Then one day while I was pondering this thought it occurred to me that this concept was not foreign because that is exactly how I was raised. I grew up knowing that there was virtually nothing I could do to cause my family to turn their backs on me. There was one time in particular where I tested this notion.
My cousin and I had decided to explore the titillating world of shoplifting. It was mostly innocent, we were young and stupid, which I guess are virtually interchangeable. Luckily for us we didn’t get caught in the act, our parents figured it out when we had random stuff laying around that we obviously hadn’t purchased.
It was mortifying.
I was so embarrassed and to make matters worse as punishment my mother made me take everything back to the stores and tell them what I had done. I literally prayed that God would just smite me down right there in the store so I wouldn’t have to endure the shame and embarrassment any more.
Man my mom was good. Only now can I imagine how incredibly embarrassing that was for her! That took some serious strength on her part.
As I mentioned, I was raised in an extremely forgiving family. That’s not to say, however, that they would ever let you live anything down!! I can remember shortly after the whole fiasco was over my grandparents were visiting and my grandfather motioned towards something I was holding and said “Now did you pay for that?” I, of course, turned beet red and he pulled me in for one of his amazing bear hugs just cracking up laughing at his own joke the whole time. Later my grandmother pulled me aside and said, “Obviously you have learned your lesson, but I wanted you to know that no matter what you do we will always love you.” Even then I already knew this, but obviously that statement stuck with me.
Fast forward 20 something years and as I look back on all the horrible decisions I have made, and trust me there are some humdingers, I never would have been able to overcome those adversities if I thought that God, or my family, would turn their back on me. But imagine if I hadn’t been raised that way. Imagine all of those little kids out there who don’t instinctively know that they are worthy of love, from people walking around down here on earth, or our ultimate Father in the heavens above?
It breaks my heart. One day soon I hope to be able to make a difference in the lives of those children. But today I have to focus on these precious little boys in my home. God has entrusted them to me and it is my job to teach them about unconditional love.
And with His help I know I can do it.