“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God” (John 3:16-21).

I never met a person who enjoyed the experience of changing diapers. I met many who gladly changed diapers because they loved. On a cold night, my father-in-law told Joyce he had never seen it cold enough to make dishwater feel good. Yet, I saw my father-in-law wash dishes because he loved his ailing wife. Take your pick—ironing white shirts, canning, unstopping a commode, splitting a rick of gnarled hickory, digging a septic line, cleaning up vomit, dressing bad wounds, etc.—there are many tasks performed because of love that otherwise would be neglected. It is not love of the task! It is love of the person who benefits from the task!

Never think it is easy for God to forgive! Sin is everything God is not. Never think it was easy for God to surrender Jesus to death! Jesus was the only adult who never rebelled. Never decide it is easy for God to sustain fellowship with us when we continue to sin and need forgiveness. Were I to attribute human characteristics to God, I would see God heaving, gushing each time we make a mess. It is amazing God tolerates us!

Consider a fascinating question: Why does God put up with us? The simple answer: He loves us. Because He loves, He forgives. Because He loves, He endures. Because He loves, He tolerates the objectionable to bless the person.

I wonder when we—each of us—will “get it.” When will we understand it is not “correctness” that covers a multitude of sins, or “justification,” or “history.” It is love that covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). It is a fervent love for each other that responds to the messes we make.

Why? Because such love is characteristic of God—and enduring friendships, and enduring marriages, and quality parenting, and—above all—an enduring fellowship among those who have entered Christ. May I be spiritually mature enough to love the God who forgives you when I have difficulty loving you. Why? Because God in creation and Christ gave you that kind of worth. And—that same God forgives me.

“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35).

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 29 May 2008

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