1 Corinthians 2:6-10
We are not good for God to love us, we are good because God loves us.
People who take the words of Jesus literally end up with a lot of guilt feelings—the last thing that Our Lord would have wanted. There are several levels of meaning in the Bible—the least to be trusted is the literal meaning.
A hint that folks take the meaning literally is that they confess evil thoughts, bad thoughts, having had sexual desires. All those are temptations. Temptations are not sins. Jesus was confronted by a popular attitude, especially among the teachers, the idea that the law is the way to salvation. Remember that in the Hebrew Scriptures—the Old Testament—Moses was the hero because He gave the people the 613 Commandments from God. The 10 Utterances or summary statements are the ones most of us memorized as children. For the longest time people were convinced, some still are, that by following the Commandments they were going to be saved. When Jesus came, we didn’t need a mediator like Moses to tell us what God wants because Jesus is God. He came to tell us that we can do nothing to make God love us more and we can do nothing to make God love us less. God already loves us, just because. Jesus tried to initiate a paradigm shift—which has still not become a reality. We are not good in order for God to love us, we are good because God loves us. The majority of humanity does not know how to respond to unconditional love. We want to earn, to merit, to prove ourselves worthy. That’s what we’ve been taught—the system of punishments and rewards. “God is watching”, was what we were told if our parents had to step away. We didn’t dare misbehave because the almighty eye was upon us. Somewhere, far, far away, in a chair, with a long white beard, sat an ancient God who had nothing better to do than to watch us and write down every time we messed up. At the end of our life—“Boy were we going to get it!” All the stuff that Mom and Dad never saw—but God saw! The teacher never knew—but God knows! Didn’t even told the priest in confession—but one day—the truth will come out—and are we going to be embarrassed!
Unfortunately, that’s were countless of people are in their spiritual journey. Many are afraid of God, and consequently afraid to die, because they fear punishment. The Good News—which is what Gospel means—is that we are not going to pay for our sins. The debt has already been paid by the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. We do not owe anything. We get a free ride, regardless of what we’ve done.
So, before any of us go plucking our eyes out, or cutting off body parts—consider that God loves us just the way we are—with all our sins. Fact is that our sins bring us closer to God. We are humbled because we realize that our life is not about getting things right, but just that we participate, even in our weaknesses. Doesn’t mean we stop trying to improve. Just remember, we are not punished for our sins. We are punished by our sins. Consider the consequences of the unhealthy behavior under the pretext of having a “good time”—the so called “friends” whom we have allowed to influence us with addictive substances—the stuff we have watched on social media. We are responsible for the choices we have made, can’t blame anyone else. When we do what we are not supposed to, we usually look for someone or something to blame. “The devil made me do it.” The challenge is to know our strengths and avoid moments which we lead us into temptation. Our strength comes from doing what God wants. There can be no resentments in our soul, especially the ones against ourselves. Forgiveness is the gateway to freedom. The way out of the madness is to accept who we are and to accept others just the way they are. Obviously, forgiveness is more important than worship. Leave the gift—get out of Church and first be reconciled.
Bring the hurts, all the mistakes, the bad choices and God offers us healing. At the Table of the Lord we can already receive the One who has paid for our sins and will receive us without question when we die.