(How Should We Receive One Another? Faults and all!)
7 Receive one another as Christ received you. This will honor God…
(How Does Christ Receive Us? Broken and Imperfect)
5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
Today I thought a lot about what makes us accepted. It all started with breakfast in bed. Well, sort of in bed. I came downstairs to find my two youngest sons already awake.
Todd, who is almost 13, was a bit disappointed to see me, but not because he doesn’t love me. “Aw… I was hoping Daddy would come down first,” he said. “I wanted to make you breakfast in bed.”
I told him I would quickly finish what I was doing and then go back to bed. This pleased him and immediately he set out to make my breakfast. He scrambled several eggs with cayenne pepper in—he knows I love spicy food so decided to be creative—and neatly arranged grapes, cheese and half of a pear on a plate.
I was just wrapping up what I was doing, and was ready to run back to bed when he decided to make a cup of coffee for me. I didn’t realize he has never used our Tassimo with the new disc holder so I didn’t offer any assistance. Almost instantly I heard a hiss and a sizzling sound.
Fortunately I was still downstairs and immediately I ran to the Tassimo to find coffee grinds everywhere and a mess on the counter. I cleaned it up, showed Todd how to use it and then went upstairs and pretended to sleep.
Much picture taking and fussing later, I enjoyed a lovely meal.
Kordan, who is ten, walked into our room and disappeared into our closet. Moving a stool along the closet so that he could see the top level, he carefully studied my clothes. At length he arranged a selection of four tops that I could choose from to wear for Mother’s day. And in his favourite colours—three had predominant colours in various shades of blue, and one in red and black. I tried them on, one at a time, posing for Kordan so he could pick his favourite.
When all was said and done, his favourite one was a bit too snug and we had to go with his second favourite…. a top I don’t wear often. It’s one of those tops that I loved at the store and then it never quite made it to my favourite list. But Kordan gave it a ‘thumbs up’, so I wore it.
It occurred to me, as I thought about these special Mother’s Day moments, that sometimes our love for God is like that. We offer Him our service, broken by humanity, tainted at times by selfish motives. Our imperfect love is more about us than about Him. It’s like we serve Him coffee with grounds spilled everywhere, even in His cup. And the outfit we dress Him in is more to make us feel good, than to represent Him.
As a mom I was delighted with breakfast, even though it left a mess. I loved my outfit, even though it wasn’t my favourite top. I loved both of these gifts because I saw the love my sons poured into the offering. It wasn’t their perfect presentation that made their gift acceptable.
Only two things made these gifts so special this morning. They are my sons. That alone is enough. And their hearts desire was to bless and honour me. That was the true gift.
We struggle sometimes to see that God accepts us and loves us because we are His children. We fail and fall short and then fear rejection. We doubt His love and acceptance based on our shortcomings. When I lived my Christian life that way, it was all about me, and I missed the blessing of the unconditional love He offers His children. In my lack, I also placed these expectations on my children.
They say we live out in our lives what we believe about God, and there is truth in it. In the days when I felt God demanded perfect service, the mess would have overtaken the purity of the gift and my clothing preference would have overruled my son’s love. I would have been frustrated, maybe even angry.
How tragic to go through life that way and miss the wonder of the love in a child’s heart—messes and all!
The wonderful thing is that it’s never too late to change how we think. It is never too late to accept the purity of our children’s love. And it’s never too late to receive the love and acceptance God offers us, on His terms—Jesus—and not based on our perfection.
What adjustments do you need to make in how you see God’s love and acceptance?
© Trudy Metzger 2012