I was sharing my heart with a friend the other day. I was explaining that I want Great Big Yes to be a place where people can be authentic and feel less alone. Whether it’s through the blog or Holy Yoga, I want to create space to share the gospel of grace and Jesus’ radical message of love.
It is radical you know.
I don’t want to talk about religion. I don’t want to try to defend a Church. I don’t want to get caught up in politics. I just want to talk about grace.
Love that knows no bounds.
That’s the radical message.
Forget what you know in your head. Forget what you think you know. Forget what you are supposed to know. Look into your heart.
It’s not about practiced prayers. It’s not about how many times you showed up in church last year or how much money you gave. It’s not about who you voted for.
When Jesus was here, the Pharisees asked Him, “What is the greatest commandment?” and Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” –(Matthew 22:37-39)
Gosh, I fail at this! Sometimes I love God with all my heart and soul and mind and other times I doubt. Sometimes I fear. I can worry. Sometimes I occupy my heart and soul and mind with other things like mind numbing reality TV and junk food. And my “neighbor”?!? Heck, it’s not even about “loving” sometimes it’s just about tolerating. Or not judging or condemning. Or not becoming enraged about a facebook post or a comment. Or trying not to hold a grudge.
But He knows this about me. He knows how hard it is for all of us. He will never ask us to do something and then leave us alone. He will stand with us and give us strength.
It’s so much easier in today’s society to hate and judge and vilify anyone who thinks differently than we do. It’s more radical to love. It’s more difficult and requires great strength to be open and to listen and to love no matter what. That’s the call.
But before we can do that, we need to know that we are loved. Each one of us is loved unconditionally.
I know this is really cheesy but humor me. Look in the mirror and smile at yourself. Then say this, “Jesus loves me. He always has and He always will. I am loved and blessed.”
If we wake up every day and say out loud, “I am loved and blessed” our lives will be transformed.
We are so tough on ourselves! When thinking about the “love your neighbor as yourself” part, maybe we do love our neighbors as we do ourselves…poorly and critically and barely.
We cannot give what we do not have. First, we must accept the love that is offered to us. It’s free and it’s real and it’s forever.
When we understand in our hearts that we are broken and it is okay, when we know for sure that we cannot do all things and we finally surrender… that is the beginning.
As Brennan Manning (LOVE HIM!) said, “God loves you as you are, not as you should be”.
Picture yourself in front of that mirror not able to say that you are loved because you feel broken. You are standing there trying to utter those kind words to yourself and you can’t. You feel like a mess, unworthy, not enough, less than, worn out. You look up and there is Jesus. Full of love and understanding…and He says it. I love you.
And you stammer, “But I….” and He says, “I know…” and you start listing all the things that you think separate you from His love. This goes on for a while until He says, “I know everything about you and I love you. I’ve seen everything and I love you. I’ve been waiting for you and I love you.”
That’s what I want to talk about. How do we open our hearts to His beautiful gift of mercy and freedom and acceptance?
And then…what do we do next?
How do we share that gift? How do we lead others to that freedom?
Let’s talk about that.©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved