God Only Makes What God Loves

John 1:16-17

During a lecture at the Academy for Spiritual Formation, author and professor Roberta Bondi said,

Imagine my arriving at home from a long, arduous trip. I stand bedraggled at my front door with a suitcase in each hand. My beloved (and gorgeous) husband Richard flings the door wide open and greets me with outstretched arms, shouting, “Roberta, I love you so much! Oh, how I love you! I love you in spite of who you are!” Would that be love? Would that be good news? No! That would be awful! Richard’s focus would be self-centered: “I am good because I love. But Roberta stinks!”

Most of us struggle to believe that God fully loves us (and others) since we do not measure up to God’s law. We hear the constant refrain of “I am not good enough.” Or we wrestle with the “woulda’, coulda’, shoulda’s” of our lives. “God loves us, warts and all,” we say, but that theology falls short. God loves us because God only makes what God loves. God makes what God sees as beautiful. God sees us only through the lens of love, the eyes of sheer delight.

John brings this good news to Jesus’ followers. We are given grace on top of more grace. God’s love knows no boundaries. Grace and truth belong to God. And Jesus, the human face of God, models this life-transforming concept.

Roberta offers two ways to accept God’s love more fully: “Don’t say mean things to yourself,” and if self-degrading thoughts do come, treat them like you would a person. Say out loud, “NO! I hear what you say, but I don’t have time to talk with you, so go sit down over there.”

Consider

Which of Roberta Bondi’s two ways of accepting God’s love do you need to practice?

Pray

God, self-centered, negative thoughts often ensnare me, making me reject your love. Draw me toward the freedom of your love, that I might become your love to others. Amen.

This post originally appeared in Volume 26.3 of Reflections.

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