Have you ever come across a person or even a group of people who just didn't seem to be embraced by God?
They seemed to be missing something very important in their life.
Walking day by day in a sinful nature, they feel justified to use cruel words, and actions, cheat innocent people, deceive them with lies in business or even their own family to get what they want ... maybe money or some elevated status in the community or just looking to find their own solitary sense of self worth?
These people are all God's children - but they are walking through life every day missing out on the truth of reality.
God's truth sets people free.
His Truth embraces humanity and allows each of us to live full and productive lives with the Grace of God. Being embraced with God's love and understanding empowers us to overcome our human tendencies that reject the truth and create sinful living.
I have lived in any places during my life - from small towns of a few hundred people to many thousands of people. Most of the places I lived -I found to be peaceful. I made friends and enjoyed the time I lived among my friends and neighbors in the community. The majority of these people seemed to be Embraced by God. They exhibited kindness through their words and actions and the community shone with a brightness from the Son.
However, one town that I moved to was very small in size. Having grown up and living in a small town for many years I welcomed the idea of living in the small town atmosphere again. I envisioned happy times, friendly neighbors and a sense of becoming a part of and living in this community for many years to come.
I envisioned wrongly -- and the journey I found myself embarked on led me to a deeper relationship with my Lord and Savior -- and to a new wide-eyed view of small town life and the sinful nature of the world.
I was alive in God when I moved to this small community and I didn't mind telling everyone that. After all, isn't that what we are supposed to do? We are supposed to share the good news of Jesus with others by sharing our words, actions and good deeds.
But what happens when our goodness is not welcomed? I found myself and my children being shunned from the first day I moved in. I tried harder than ever to be kind to the people in the community and was met with sarcasm, cold stares and basic invisibility. They would actually look past me as if I were not standing right in front of them.
It was a very strange experience and I found myself taking it personally that it was me that they didn't like. I felt wounded, my heart hurt and I began feeling depressed. Why , I wondered. Why won't they welcome me here?
Do you think that this is how Jesus felt as He walked the earth? He was shunned, ridiculed, hated and ultimately killed for who He was and for what He represented. He reached out to people with His Father's Word.
John 8:30-45 (NIV)
Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him. The Children of Abraham to the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants." "I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.Do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does."
"We are not illegitimate children," they protested. "The only Father we have is God himself." The Children of the Devil, Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.
Why is my language not clear to you?
Because you are unable to hear what I say.
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!
The words of Jesus speak God's Truth -- the truth of Reality - in yesterdays world and - and that Reality of Truth still holds true in today's world, as well!
I do not resent moving to or living in that small town. During the years I was there, my relationship with God grew deeper. I was embraced by God -- living with his Grace and in His love. His truth carried me through.
Although I did not see any change in the majority of the community around me while I was there, I do believe that God had a purpose for my time spent among these lost people. I saw a community wrought with sin filled with people, unable to hear the world of God.
These people were not followers of Jesus, but followers of their own light -- a light that will never shine with brightness of the Son of God.
We must remember that:
God's Truth sets people free!
The lost people I encountered in that community are all God's children - but they are walking through life every day missing out on the truth of reality.
God's truth sets people free!
His Truth embraces humanity and allows each of us to live full and productive lives with the Grace of God. Being embraced with God's love and understanding empowers us to overcome human tendencies that reject the truth and cause people to live a sinful life.
My prayer for today is that all of God's children will be able to hear the truth of His word, to overcome the powers of sin and deceit so abundant in communities in this world and to live a life Embraced by God. I pray that even as we are persecuted for loving God, we continue to share His word to others around us.
And if they see you as invisible and refuse to accept you --
I pray that you will find comfort in these words spoken by Jesus: Matthew 10:22
All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Blessings to you all today and every day.