You know, it’s not always easy to hear the truth. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it drives us away, sometimes it even makes us angry. Just the other day I came face-to-face to a hard hitting truth: turns out (and I hope you’re sitting down for this) that I’m not the greatest dad in the world, and that sometimes I can even annoy my kids. I know, surprising, but actually true.
I learned this in a few ways: the slow realisation of its possibility, the proof in my kids looking annoyed at me, and then the kicker of when they literally said that I was annoying. I mean, you can’t really deny the validity of that kind of witness.
They way I see it, I have some choices. I can ignore the facts presented in front of me and carry on as if nothing happened. Or I can get angry, storm around the house and eventually try to throw my kids off a cliff. Or I can hear the truth as statements of love, telling me what needs to be changed, and I take necessary steps to change it.
Now, I know that I may never be the best dad in the world and quite frankly I may never stop being annoying, but the truth is the truth and the beauty is that my kids for some reason love me in spite of it. At least, that is what they tell me (and I choose to believe it).
So I got the whole “throw my kids off a cliff” thing from the gospel lesson here. Of course I would never even think of doing that, but that is how angry this mob was with what Jesus was teaching them. And really, the truth that Jesus was teaching wasn’t as offensive as calling a proud dad “not the greatest dad in the world”, but it was the truth about the grace and love of God. We find it funny that they would actually be so offended by this truth, but can you really blame them?
Before you say “yes” (as it is on my lips as well), I think we should consider how often we are offended by God’s surprising grace and merciful love as well. We might not think it right away, because from our standpoint, God is great for loving us and forgiving us. But what if we learn that God has forgiven those we don’t like? Or those we feel need to be punished for their sin? Or those we just want to feel the pain that they’ve caused us?
Yes, I know we likely won’t be wanting to throw God off a cliff or anything, but we sometimes forget just how big and how wide and how deep God’s love for all people really is. Because when we remember and embrace this truth, it is no longer offensive that all people are forgiven and welcomed into God’s love, but it is our source of hope and where our praise comes from.
For the truth of God’s love is that it is overreaching, overarching, and so over the top that it covers absolutely everyone. And this truth helps us in showing just a piece of that love to others as well.
May God’s love shine in you and through you for this week and always! Peace be with you!