Yesterday we talked a little bit about what my dad taught me about God. I shared three lessons that I’ve learned about my heavenly father from my earthly dad.
The first was that God changes us by reminding us of who we are, not who we aren’t. In Colossians 3:12 God calls us holy, dearly loved, and chosen. God reminds us who we are and how he sees us. He doesn’t see us as half-holy strike outs. He doesn’t see us as people he has to love. He doesn’t see us as half wanted wannabes. Instead, he sees us as holy, loved, and chosen people. Being reminded of who you are is what leads people to change and grow. There is a great clip that shows this from the movie Blood Diamond. What’s happened is this young boy has been taken as a child soldier and forced to do terrible things. This is the scene when his father finds him. Listen to how he talks to him.
I love the line, “I am your Father who loves you, and you will come home with me and be my son again”. This is just like our heavenly Father. God the Father doesn’t begin by reminding us of all the ways we’ve failed, messed up, and sinned. He reminds us of who we are in Him and also who we are to him. He reminds us how he sees us as holy, loved, and chosen. That like Solomon in that clip reminds his son Dia, “You are a good boy.”
The truth is that people live up to our expectations of them. And if we only see people as screw-ups and wash-outs, why should they act any differently if we can’t believe differently about them?
So the first lesson was to remind people of who they are and what we see in them. The second lesson was that grace is meant to be given. We love to give grace to nice people, deserving people, or people who earn it and ask for it. But this isn’t grace. Grace is a gift that covers a wrong, that reconciles, and redeems. Grace can’t be earned, it is a free gift. So we talked about how if there is division, tension, or problems in a relationship to think about this question: “What would it mean to give a gift of grace to that person?” It doesn’t mean pretending that nothing is wrong, but instead rising above the wrong and giving a gift of love.
And lastly, we talked about how we need to learn to celebrate. Celebration, throwing parties, and connecting isn’t just fun, it’s actually Godly. In the Old Testament they had celebrations every single month. In the New Testament the Kingdom of God is often related to a party. And in the parable of the Prodigal Son, the Father throws a lavish party instantly to welcome home his son. The point is that God is into good celebrations, great connections, and a fun party. So we need to as well.
So this week go out and remind people of who they are, give grace, and celebrate. And as you do this, watch as people are changed, because you’ll be living and acting just like our heavenly father…