My hands swished the soapy sponge over the plate and then rinsed off the suds under the tap, but my mind was working on a different task.
I recently spoke with a dear friend. He told me about his reality. He has had a long journey in accepting who he is, because woven into the fabric of his being is something that goes against the worldview of his family and what they consider acceptable. Or so he thought. He didn’t want to face the reality of who he is for a long time because he was afraid he would be rejected by the ones who loved him.
As I thought about my own life, I acknowledged that I am no better than he. In the very fabric of who I am is woven many shades of selfish threads. They display themselves in more socially acceptable ways, perhaps, but they are there. I am no better of a person than my precious friend. His reality and my reality put us both at odds with God’s perfect character, I mused.
I love my friend for who he is, not what he does, I thought. So what caused him to be so scared that his loved ones, and maybe even God, would reject him and stop loving him? Then it dawned on me. As sinful human beings, our love is often conditional. So when someone shows a trait that is disagreeable, they feel at risk of rejection.
So, I thought, how is God’s love different? What makes His love better? And all of a sudden I realized that God doesn’t love us based on who we are, but on who He is. He doesn’t offer His love because of some good trait I have or good deeds I have done. He doesn’t even offer His love because He created me. He offers His love because He is love! His love is pure and unselfish. It doesn’t require us to be a certain way. Yet He doesn’t want us to hold on to things that aren’t for our good. So, how does this work? I pondered. How does He accept us as we are and yet grow us to be better? It’s our time with Him, I realized. When we spend real, regular, quality time with Him, we begin to want those undesirable threads removed from the fabric of who we are. He is the only one skilled enough to remove those threads without damaging the cloth that is so valuable to Him. So my job is to spend real time with Him, open my heart to His Spirit, and listen to His voice.
My mind came back to the job at hand. As I washed that last dish, my heart felt full and free. Lord of love, please fill me with Your Spirit. Please take all the sinful threads from the fabric of my life and remake me into a tapestry that will honor You and display your grace to others. And please help me to offer love to others, not based on who they are, but because You live in me, and You are love. Amen.
Friends, as we start the new year, let’s open our hearts as never before to our Savior and see how He transforms us.