God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
Dear God, my high school pastor loved this verse. He used to have a passage for us to recite at the end of each church service. One year, he had us do John 3:16-17. He made sure we didn’t forget this part. If his goal was to get us to memorize scripture it worked because I’m sitting here 35 years later and I can still hear the words ringing in my ears.
One thing about this pastor is that he really focused on Your love and grace. In fact, as I grew older and went back to listen to some of his sermons on cassette while I was in college, I realized his sermons were almost always on grace and there wasn’t much on discipleship. Going further down the road, as it turned out, he was a bit tormented by some guilt/shame in his own life. Putting it all together, I’ve wondered how much of his sermons and methods were an effort to emotionally reconcile himself to you, not quite grasping just how deep your love for him was.
Father, your desire is to love us all. As a father myself, my desire for my children is good things. Knowing how I feel about them informs, at least a little, of how I view your love for me. So help me on my journey of working out my faith and reconciling what my head believes and my heart feels. Help me to love my children the way you love me. And help me to carry your love and presence into the world.
In Jesus’s name I pray,