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"You have never looked into the eyes of someone who doesn't matter to God" by Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh (CatholicMom.com) Photo via Pixabay (2016), CC0 Public Domain[/caption] I’m sure you have all wished you could take back things you’ve said or done which was later found to be hurtful to someone else. Being a Catholic allows us the opportunity of knowing we can come before Jesus through confession and beg forgiveness for the occasions of sin we have done and unfortunately; even with our best efforts, will sin again. Perhaps you wondered, “I wish I hadn't said that or done that to my child or my husband.” or “I wish I could take something I did when I was younger and change it.” Have you asked yourself, “What must God think of me?” “Am I a disappointment to God?” “Is God mad at me? Will He still forgive me?” I can’t stress enough there are answers to these questions. What I’m about to share is not fake news! It is, in fact, Good News! The answers have been stated clearly and concisely and documented in the Gospels. It’s here we learn God has the capacity for perfect Love. God loves us all! We all matter to God. We are all valuable to God. How do I know this? I believe you have never looked into the eyes of anyone who doesn’t matter to God. Think about that. God loves us like a forgiving Father who holds no grudges for sins we have committed. Maybe you can look at this from your own perspective. You likely have known people who are unkind or who have hurt you in the past which resulted in you making the decision to not see them or forgive them. God has the capacity to give perfect love, promising to forgive sins and return us to the state of grace -- provided we express sorrow for our sins. I don’t want to appear as if I’m kidding myself here. I think God’s heart is full of sadness when we sin. I think He feels disappointment. But, I also realize He has it in His heart to forgive our sins because He knows what’s in our minds and hearts. What makes me so sure of all of this? Again, I look to Scripture to understand why I come to these assumptions.
“I created you in my own image.” (Genesis 1:27) “I knit you together in your mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:4) “You are more valuable than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:31) “You have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) “There is none who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 14: 2-3) "For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son, that all those who believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3: 16) “All your sins are forgiven.” (1 John 1:9) "All your unrighteousness has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus.” (1 John 1: 7, 9) “You are now righteous in my sight with the very righteousness of my perfect Son.” (Romans 4:5)
So, what does God expect from us that makes me certain He will not give up on us? I think, first and foremost, He wants us to know Him. This means we will need to have a relationship with Him. How can we have a relationship with God? First, through loving others the way God loves us. A tall order, that’s for sure. Jesus only gave us one commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” This includes loving those who we find difficult to love and challenging to forgive. Second, we will develop a relationship with God with the help of the Holy Spirit.
“Don’t live by your own power or understanding. No, live by my Spirit within you. (Zechariah 4: 6) “Remember, I have given you the Holy Spirit to be with you and in you. (Romans 5:5; John 14:17)
The third way is through prayer. It is through prayer that we reach inside ourselves to ask for forgiveness. It is through prayer that we ask God to bless us and our children. God answers these prayers according to His will. We need to understand, every moment can be an opportunity for prayer. OK. I know this one’s a tough call. I read a story about a woman who prays every hour of her day. While she’s folding clothes, making lunches for her kids, paying her bills, driving to pick up her kids from school; she uses every opportunity to acknowledge God in prayer. Still, how will we know God is with us? How did you learn about loving your spouse or your parents or your children? You learned to know them through talking and finding out what makes them happy or sad or angry. You used your capacity for loving them by allowing them in your heart and soul and mind. This is the same with God. The end result is, we all matter to God. Why?
“When Jesus appears, you will be like him, because you shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2; Romans 8:29) “You are an ambassador for my Son.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)
Remember, at one time Paul was an enemy of Jesus. He persecuted Christians. He adhered to the letter of the law rather than trying to understand God’s love. Yet, in the end, Paul was able to find God’s grace and embraced God’s love.
Copyright 2018 Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh