As a Christian, I am privileged to feel able to approach Almighty God, any time of day and night with a prayer or a thought.
The confidence with which I enter His throne room is unrelated to how “good” I have been in the hours and days beforehand.
I approach Him, knowing I will get a warm reception. Knowing He will be gracious and not meet me with a big stick or a barrage of accusatory words. Knowing that in His presence, I will find the strength to turn my life around and do better.
I am also keenly aware that I do not extend the same generosity of spirit to my nearest and dearest.
My tongue is like a well trained, lethal sniper. Ready to berate and barrage at every turn. I do not hide my disappointment and anger at their misdeeds. I do not fail to let them know just how let down I feel. Worse still, I feel morally justified in doing so.
In Luke 9:54, the disciples considered themselves morally justified in asking Jesus to call down destruction on a Samaritan village for their cold reception of Jesus and His entourage.
Jesus rebuked the disciples, reminding them that His purpose was to save lives, not to destroy them. He said this because he recognised that only an abundance of love is powerful enough to turn the hearts of sinners towards him.
This is not blind, sentimental, mushy love.
This is a very deliberate, powerful, unconditional and generous love that chooses to believe in, and nurture the potential of the individual that lies within their current stinky and undesirable state of being.
It’s believing that better lies within and drawing it out in love.
It’s understanding that the outward change will seek will only become manifest after a million, tiny, indiscernible changes. And that our role is to feed and nurture that deep but slow work with the same unconditional, inexhaustible love that our Heavenly Father showers on us – daily.
It’s remembering that Mercy triumphs over Judgement. Always.
Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face.
And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.
And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”
But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.
Lu 9:51-56 NKJV