Series: Always Relevant: God Is…
I Corinthians 12:12-13 NCV
Romans 3:23-24 ESV
Romans 3:21-24 The Message
We might all be different but we don’t need to be adorkable.
I Corinthians 12:12-13,
“A person’s body is one thing, but it has many parts. Though there are many parts to a body, all those parts make only one body. Christ is like that also. Some of us are Jews, and some are Greeks. Some of us are slaves, and some are free. But we were all baptized into one body through one Spirit. And we were all made to share in the one Spirit.”
You have a place with God.
We do not have any reason to feel awkward before God.
We all belong.
I am reminded of a young girl I met one time. I was thirty years old and she was eighteen.
The day i met her I stayed after church to pick up the mess in the sanctuary. I always did that because some of the mess was made by my kids. I always allowed them to color or have something to do during church because when they were coloring they weren’t making noise or physically engaging their siblings. I’ve said before that didn’t include my daughter. She was always able to sit still. She was the oldest.
On this particular Sunday I stepped into a back room for a moment and when I went back into the sanctuary the young girl was sitting in the back with her eyes closed.
When I came in she jumped up and looked at the door. I asked her how she was doing. I noticed she was expecting a baby. I had just given birth to my fourth child and I asked her when she was expecting the baby to come.
I was trying to put her at ease, but when I mentioned the baby she got embarrassed. She told me when and then she also told me life was pretty hard for her right now.
I sat down beside her and I said, “tell me about that.”
I didn’t know what to expect, but I certainly didn’t expect what happened next.
She started crying and she said she wasn’t married and her parents were pretty upset with her. She said she was too embarrassed to go to her church and she just wanted to sit in a church to talk to God.
I told her she was welcome to come sit anytime and she could stay for as long as she wanted to stay.
She looked at me for a bit and she asked, “so what do you think God thinks about me?”
I looked at her and I said, “I know that God loves you very much.”
I don’t know what I expected, but I did not expect the flood gates to open.
She wept and wept.
I sat down beside her and I held her. I gently gently rocked her and I sang Jesus loves you (I changed the words a bit).
Through her sobs she said she didn’t know why.
I told her it’s because he died for her. I also told her he died for me. She looked at me and told me I couldn’t be as bad as she was. I laughed a little and said, “oh, you don’t know me.”
I explained that according to my Bible, sin is sin and we ALL sin. I quoted a Roman’s 3:23-24, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
The Message version hadn’t been published in 1983, but in Romans 3:21-24 it says, “But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.”
Before we parted I told her she was welcome to come sit here anytime and I told her she was welcome to come to church. I really believed no one I knew who went to that church would treat her badly. They were all loving and forgiving with everyone who entered.
I prayed for her and her baby. I told her I KNOW Jesus loves her and so do I.
I continued to pray for her and watch for her.
She never came back.
Through the years God has occasionally brought her to my mind and I’ve prayed for her. I pray that she found a body who would love her and her baby. I prayed that she will remember to turn to Jesus and trust in the love of God.
I changed that day when she came into my life. I had never experienced the fear that church people wouldn’t love me. I’ve always felt like scripture doesn’t give us that option. I have since met a few (a very few) who didn’t seem to like me all the time, but I prayed for them and forgave them. I also asked God to forgive me. I’ve never felt like God/Jesus won’t love me.
I rely on the promise of God’s unending everlasting love.
God has never failed me.
Ever. Even when I mess up really bad, God smiles at me and gives me a hug.
As far as the church is concerned, we ARE all different. I think God loves diversity and that’s why we were all uniquely created in the image of God. We ALL share the same Spirit of the living God alive IN us.
Spiritual Practice: God Loves You
Remember that God loves you and created you for a special purpose. Do you know what that purpose is? If you don’t know, ask God.
In God, Deborah