Free-Will and Love
God's gift to humanity is free-will. Every day we are faced with many choices. Often, we make decisions that lead to our highest good, but at other times, we make choices that lead to despair. Of course, God hopes we shall choose that which is fulfilling and life-giving for everyone concerned.
But would God be upset if we should make a destructive choice? Why would our Heavenly Father be angry if he wants us to have free-will and learn to make healthy decisions? Nonetheless, it is not easy to believe that God remains neutral with our reckless ways of thinking. The Old Testament authors claim God was often provoked to anger. Truly, the Israelites were trapped in the belief that God was always judging whether their choices were good or evil. Such ancient folk simply did not know the God that Jesus knew!
According to the Master, his God accepts and loves all of humanity … unconditionally. He even commanded us to imitate God. “Be like God”, he said. Why would Jesus teach us to do something that God would not do? He wouldn't!
In his famous Sermon on the Mountain, Jesus teaches us how to be like God, which boils down to loving everyone … in spite of how they think and act. But how can we possibly love them if we can't accept their destructive behavior? Jesus provides us with a four-step process that enables us to accept and embrace them … for that's what love does!
One of these steps is to choose to be tolerant -- not to judge, criticize, or blame another person that is abusive toward us -- for it will only come back to haunt us.
Another step is to not be confrontational or combative! Rather than retaliate, just learn to ... let it go.
But to apply these two principles of tolerance and non-resistance, we must ever be willing to forgive … the unforgivable. This step may just have to be … the first step. Only after we apply these three steps can we neutralize our emotions and then be ready to accept an unlikeable person … just as they are.
Now we are ready for the final step, which is to love them. Jesus taught us to love and pray for our enemies. Yes, once we come to accept them -- even with their shortcomings -- only then are we capable of loving them ... as they are.
To love them is to embrace them, even as a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings. What could a young chickling possibly do that would cause Mother Hen to disown him … or to forsake her? Nothing! Nothing!
Now, if you and I are to forgive, accept, and love our enemies, how much more does God look upon his chicklings with unconditional forgiveness and total acceptance. Obviously, Jesus believed that his God – and our God -- does not judge, does not retaliate, but accepts humanity as it is … and loves it … as God is! And so should we!
God embraces all of humanity with all of our flaws and bad choices. Our heavenly Father, with outstretched arms, loves each and every one of his human children, in spite of wrong choices, embracing us under his wings. That way, we shall learn from our mistakes and make better choices tomorrow.
Yes, it is the nature of God to unconditionally accept us … just as we are … moment by moment … and to embrace us with Love … for God is Love.
Can you dig it?
1 Deuteronemy 30:19
2 John 3:16
3 Matthew 5:48
4 Matthew 7:1-2
5 Matthew 5:39
6 Matthew 6:12
7 Matthew 5:44
8 Matthew 23:37
9 1 John 4:20
Authored by Reverend Virgil Brewer at Unity Chapel
January 1, 2013