God Does Not Want to Condemn, He Wants to Love!
Fr. Luke A. Veronis
God doesn’t want to condemn us, He wants to love us!
Think about that statement. God doesn’t want to condemn us. He’s not looking to punish us. He’s not sick and tired of us, wanting to reject us. NO! We need to understand God for who He is and what He really wants from us. And that is, He wants to love us!
Deep down, so many people feel unloved, not cherished. Something deep within many of us tells us we are not worth much. Society tells us we aren’t pretty enough, rich enough, sexy enough, cool enough. Society is always trying to point to our shortcomings, even if they are fabricated shortcomings.
Many of us feel unloved within our own families, or among our friends. We’re not good enough. We don’t feel valued and cherished. Others have criticized us too much. And yet, the one thing every one of us longs for is to feel loved, to feel appreciated, to feel cherished.
The good news of our Christian faith is that we need to understand the central message of Jesus Christ – He loves us. God adores each one of us and wants us to live as His beloved children. We heard this in today’s Gospel lesson, which highlighted this in one of the most famous verses in the Bible:
For God so loves the world so much that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not sent the Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him. (John 3:16-17)
Think about what this means. God loves the world, He loves each one of us so much, and His only desire is to save the world. He does not desire to condemn us or anyone. He is love, and wants each of us to live in that love. To know that we are loved. We are cherished.
This may seem hard to believe when we think about how much evil there is in the world. All around us we hear about violence, hatred, jealousy, meanness, greed, and ugliness. There is darkness all around us, and it’s hard to imagine a God who loves this world and doesn’t want to condemn it, but who invites everyone to enter into His unconditional, abiding, and divine love.
Remember, in every generation darkness exists. We can’t fool ourselves and think that our generation is so much better than past generations, just like we can’t say our generation is much worse. Darkness and evil have always existed. And because of all this evil, many feel that God must come to judge the world, to condemn all the evil and wrong people in the world. God really needs to straighten out the world!
Well, you are right that God needs to straighten out this world, but He chooses to do this by showing His divine love! He highlights this by coming, not to condemn the world, but to save the world. He shows His love by offering His Son as the link to His love. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son… not to condemn the world but to save it!
Today, I want each of us to carry with us each and every day that our true identity is as a child of God, a beloved, cherished, special child of God. If we live each day remembering who we are, and finding meaning and purpose in our true identity, it will change our entire perspective on life, and on every person we encounter. And when we think about how God’s love is not only for us, but His passionate love is for every other person in the world, think about how we will begin to view one another, and how we will start to treat one another.
Knowing we are loved. Living in God’s love. It makes the world such a beautiful place.