For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
~ John 3:16-17
The Bible says, “For God so loved the world.” Who exactly is the world? The world is you, and me, and everyone from every generation; those in the past, those in the future. It does not matter the size, color, shape, sexuality, or nationality, if you are a human being than you are the world, and God loves you!
I have a memory of spending the day at the St. Louis City Museum with my grandchildren. One particular feature of the museum was a long crawl space tunnel. I decided to not let claustrophobia keep me from having this experience with the kids. So down on my hands and knees I went into this tight little space, and kept my focus on the person in front of me. I was grateful when I made it through to the other side. I also realized that not everyone would be able to do this. It was very tight and if you were too large, you might not fit.
Christ spreads wide His arms and bids us all to come to Him. Church should never be a place where one does not fit in, but unfortunately not everyone feels welcomed. I remember when my boys were teenagers, they grew their hair long. One of the men of the church grabbed one of my boys by the hair and said, “Boy, when are you going to get this cut?” I don’t think my son felt welcoming arms of love when this happened.
Sometimes, church people surround themselves with only people like them, so when someone they deem “different”, comes into the church, they can be less than welcoming. They may have forgotten their mission, which is to love like Christ loved.
If you have too many tattoos, or body piercings, or maybe you are gay, or your hair is purple, you feel shunned. For those in the church that make you feel unwelcomed, I apologize. I want to assure you that Jesus is not like that. He welcomes all, including the narrow minded, judgmental person, treating you differently. You see, we are all sinners, saved by grace. It is nothing we did or did not do. It is a gift from God.
This gift is available to everyone, not just an elite group of people. Jesus did not come to condemn you, but to give you abundant life. If you feel unwelcomed in your church, maybe it’s time to find a new one. Jesus loved the world, and if you’re in this world, you fit right in His arms.
Dearest Savior, Thank you for your love that included even me. Amen
~ Jenny Calvert