When I was little my mom taught us, God is love. The Bible (the Old Testament and the New Testament) is the story of God’s insane love for his children. At Jesus’ time, however, folks had …
When I was little my mom taught us, God is love. The Bible (the Old Testament and the New Testament) is the story of God’s insane love for his children. At Jesus’ time, however, folks had forgotten that they were God’s children. People were more worried about following the over 600 rules created by the religious leaders to avoid breaking the simple Ten Commandments given by God.
God had even simplified the Ten Commandments to two in the book of Leviticus: “Love God and love your neighbor.” But leave it to human beings to make things harder than they are and throughout the years, people forgot the simple fact that the creator of the universe was their loving father.
In Isaiah 43:1-3 the Lord said, “But now thus say the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel, fear not for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” We are his and he is ours, which is why Jesus taught the disciples the Lord’s Prayer to remind them that God is their loving father — our loving father.
I think even now many people have forgotten that God is our loving father because we are focusing on our sins rather than repenting and accepting God’s forgiveness. It is also good to be reminded of what love is. According to Corinthians 13:4-8, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” And our heavenly father is love.
He is not a punishing God and he does not take delight in rebuking us. As is said in Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is with you, the mighty warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” This powerful passage paints an image of the most loving, forgiving, protective father, our lord. Notice that it says, “He does not rebuke us but delights in us.” He loves us regardless of our sins and shortcomings.
In John 14, Jesus said “when you see me you see my father,” and how did Jesus treat the sinners? Choosing his disciples, Christ did not go to the temple or the synagogue to pick the “righteous,” rather, he pursued the sinners and the outcasts.
In Jesus’ time, fishermen were looked down on, so Peter and his brother Andrew were not the créme de la créme. Matthew was a tax collector and was despised by his people; tax collectors were not even allowed in the synagogue. James and John, who were Christ’s cousins, had such hot tempers that Christ referred to them as sons of thunder — yet John has always been known as the “beloved disciple.” We know that Judas’ greed led him to betray our lord for 30 pieces of silver, yet he was chosen by Christ to be a disciple.
Therefore, as it is quite obvious, God does not see us as sinners who need to be punished. He sees us as his little children. The big problem that is separating us from our father is how we see ourselves. Satan, who is also known as the accuser, is constantly at work in our mind, reminding us of our inequities.
If we have repented from our past sins, then God does not remember them. What did Jesus tell the woman who was caught in adultery and was about to be stoned? Jesus told her, “They don’t condemn and neither do I, go and sin no more.” God wants us to acknowledge our sins, repent and strive hard to not fail again which is why he gave us the sacrament of reconciliation.
Satan the accuser never ceases to stop reminding us of our past sins and failings. When those thoughts come to your mind, remind yourself that your father in heaven is love and is madly and insanely in love with you. You have repented and he has wiped it clean, so why do you keep remembering it? Peter betrayed the Lord much like Judas did; Judas sold the Lord but Peter denied him. The difference between Peter and Judas is that Peter accepted God’s forgiveness whereas Judas could not forgive himself, let alone accept God’s mercy.
We have to be careful when we are not able to forgive ourselves or others because that is not from God. First of all, God is constantly pursuing the sinner and secondly, when a person hurts us, the person is actually sinning against God. After all, it is not our commandments the sinner is breaking, it is God’s commandments. The offense is solely against God and if God forgives, who are we not to?
We just have to remember to trust in the Lord, surrender to him and let him take care of everything. “Jesus, I surrender to you, take care of everything.”
(Autourina Mains is a cradle Catholic who was born and raised in the Middle East. She is an Assyrian and speaks the ancient Aramaic language, which was used to write the first five books of the Bible.)