Dear Brother or Sister

Dear Brother or Sister,

 

I’m sorry that we spent so many years not talking to each other.

 

I’m sorry that, early in your life when I should have been there, I was not. I have an excuse for my behavior, but it doesn’t matter. The fact is, I was wrong.

 

I’m sorry that some people, calling themselves “Christians,” introduced you to a bunch of rituals and rules that amounted to a long list of things you cannot do but never introduced you to the love of God in Jesus.

 

See, because that hole in your life you know exists, that you freely admit you have, that’s a God-shaped hole. That’s where Jesus is supposed to be in your life. And yes, there’s supposed to be a bunch of people with him (me included) who will love you and support you and be a real family for you.

 

God designed us and built us to love him and to love each other. Jesus said that’s the biggest thing –and yes, he said it was a rule, but it’s a good and glorious rule.

 

If only we would do that one thing like we’re supposed to, all the other things would kind of fall into place without a lot of effort on anybody’s part. 

 

Yes, I know you’ve noticed there a lot of people in this world who get that wrong and I will not deny I am one of them.

 

Actually, everybody is one of them. 

 

Nobody gets it right. Ever. Not even close. 

 

But here’s the Good News: (And yes, Jesus actually calls it that) Even though everyone of us is a jerk who utterly, miserably, terribly, epically fail at this loving each other thing, he loves us anyway. 

 

I know. It makes no sense. 

 

But he does. He loves us enough to die for us. 

 

And he did.

 

See, he didn’t just say he loved us, he died for us in this horrific and terrible and painful and totally unfair way so that we would see how good he is a how bad we really are. 

 

And we are bad. Really bad.

 

But he didn’t stay dead. 

 

Yeah, that’s where the miracle part comes in. Jesus rose from the dead.

 

And that’s where the power comes in. See, because if death can’t kill God, if we can’t kill God even when he lets us, nothing can. Nothing is impossible for him. 

 

He can fill that hole in you life. He can crush that demon that torments you and won’t let you go. He can take the chains off you and set you free!

 

I know this because he did it for me. I told you that and I meant it. Jesus totally changed my life, and (this is amazing) I did not have to make myself perfect or even good before he took all the stuff I had done that was eating me alive and wiped it away! Yes, he forgave me (get this) when I did not deserve it!

 

That’s what I meant when I said there is nothing we can do to make ourselves good enough for God, because he has already done it for us! He paid the price for every rotten, hideous, stupid, mean, hateful, terrible, awful thing that anybody has ever done or ever will do.

 

And he did it so that we could love like we are supposed to –like he designed and built us to love. 

 

That’s why I told you not to call me “religious.”

 

Here, this is what Jesus said to the “religious” people who hounded him and told him he wasn’t good enough:

“You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” Matthew 23:24 (NIV)

 

And what he meant by that is that all these big-shot religious “leaders” who thought they knew everything there was to know about God had spent so much time and effort making up their own little rules to beat people over the head with, they had forgotten and totally missed the main point –which was to love God and love each other! 

 

And that’s why believing in Jesus isn’t about religion. It’s about relationship. 

 

It’s about love. 

 

It’s possible, and it’s good. It’s very, very good.

 

I’ll write more later. In the meantime, try reading the book of John. It’s good stuff. Pay attention to the kind of people Jesus clearly loves. It’s not the people who think they’re perfect.

 

Oh, and Kinship Christian Radio has great stuff on it, too. You can even listen online. www.kinshipradio.org

 

Love, 

Dan

 

Today’s Praise

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  John 3:17 (NIV)

Photo by Tracy Jones. Used by permission.

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