I grew up in a fairly strict church environment, where I learned to feel much guilt and shame. Back then, religious education was about being damned to an eternity of hell fire while living in fear. Man, I am glad perspective has changed in the churches I attend today. They now talk more about God’s love. This brings to mind a verse I memorized as a kid:
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, and whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Why didn’t I focus on this verse more as a youth? You know, the part about how much he loved me – rather than focusing on the idea that I may perish.
A friend of mine and I got into a discussion about sexuality recently. The only comments I really have on this topic are that the ways and words have changed since I was a kid and it can be hard to keep up the specifics of the topic. However, I believe whole-heartedly that whatever our beliefs, people who identify other than heterosexuals should be treated with respect, just like everyone else. God says so.
In the New Testament, Romans 2 talks about people judging others – mostly that we are all fallible and God will be the one to judge each and every one of us. Verse 11 says, “For there is no partiality with God.”
I feel that Romans 14:1 also reinforces the respect point, “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.” And again in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Giving people respect is one form of expressing love. Focusing on the love aspect when dealing with people by using forgiveness, kindness, patience, consideration and compassion saves us… ourselves. Love. Saves. Us.
It’s simple math: God saves us + God is love = love saves us.
He loves us. What is more profound and awesome than that?