I found this on Proverbs 31 Ministries Facebook page today — beautifully said!
And it goes right along with the message at church yesterday. A message of how we can never mess up so much as to miss out on God’s grace. We often think if we do wrong or are bad God will stop loving us. And I struggled with that wrongful thinking for a long, long time — maybe even up until yesterday.
Six years ago I wrestled with what to do about my marriage at the time — reconcile and go back to what was, stay separated for a while to see if he had truly changed or get divorced. I struggled with making the right choice so as not to lose favor with God. Yep, that’s mostly what I couldn’t come to terms with — not being loved by my Father because I might make a bad decision and therefore, be considered a bad person. After all, we all know how God hates bad people. Or not.
As I grappled with a very hard decision regarding my marriage, a man from my former church proceeded to let me know how God cared more about my marriage staying intact than whatever my problems were. Uh, let’s see what was my problem? Oh yeah, living with an abusive spouse. So, after picking my jaw up off the ground and feeling a strong sense of anger beginning to overtake me while standing outside the unemployment office, I calmly but very bluntly told him how I believed God cared more about His people and their heart conditions than a marriage license. And just as abruptly, I hung up. We never spoke again and on the rare occasion we would run into each other, he’d say nothing and turn the other way. How grateful I am that God does not turn his back on me.
I find it sad that some Christians, such as this man, are held in bondage to a lie — a lie which says if we sin or do something wrong, at least according to them, God will stop loving us and we will no longer be covered by His grace. We will have to work harder for His love and grace. We will have to prove ourselves to be good in order to be loved.
Wait a minute — wait one darn minute — isn’t that the same thing as saying we are justified through works and not faith? So if I make a decision to the best of my ability, seeking God through prayer and obtaining wise counsel, but I still make a decision that others feel is wrong, then I’m a bad person — and if I’m a bad person than God will no longer love me and I will fall out of his grace, and other Christians will shun me for doing something they would never ever do. Hmmm…
So let me get this straight — if we are good we are loved, if we are bad we are kicked to the curb, by not only others but God too. Really? Sounds like the gospel of salvation through works not grace.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” ~Ephesians 2:8-9
“This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” ~Romans 3:23-24
“…since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” ~Romans 5:1-2
Out of all my options several years ago, I chose divorce. But unlike others, God did not stop loving me, turn His back on me or tell me I was going to hell. When I chose to believe upon Jesus Christ in 1998, I became justified through faith and no matter what decisions I’ve made in my life, I cannot do anything bad enough to lose His love or my salvation. Was divorce a bad decision, therefore making me a bad person? I suppose it depends who you ask for there are many critics out there, but I think it was the best decision I could make at the time with what was happening in my life. Perhaps we could talk about ex-spouse’s bad decisions.
Abuse is always a bad decision but removing ourselves from an abusive situation is most likely a good choice.
But get this, even an abuser who makes bad choices but is a true believer cannot do anything so bad as to be separated from God’s love or grace. Yet this then raises the question — is it possible for an abuser to be a Christian? Perhaps that will be the topic of my next post. 😉
May we all remember that God loves us so much He gave His only begotten son to die for us while we were still sinners — and that type of love does not end because we are bad or make bad decisions. His love for us continues and I believe it covers us even more when we struggle with making the right decisions because we want so badly to please our Father.