Sunday, March 5, 2017

Why it is Essential to Know that God Loves Everyone

Romans 5: 2 (NLT): God Loves Everyone
2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
In the 1995 film Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen Prejean (played by Susan Sarandon) becomes the spiritual guide to a convicted, malicious rapist/killer who awaits execution. The convicted, Matthew Poncelet (played by Sean Penn), stubbornly denies responsibility of the murder and rape charge, and throughout the film he plays the victim. It isn’t until the end of the film, however, when Poncelet is twenty-two minutes away from being executed, that he tearfully admits to Sister Prejean his culpability in both the murder and the rape. And after that confession and reconciliation, that moment of grace that only God can give, the following conversation unfolds:
Matthew Poncelet: When the lights dimmed last night, I kneeled and prayed for them kids. l never done that before.
Sister Helen Prejean: Oh, Matt. There are spaces of sorrow only God can touch. . . . You have a dignity now. Nobody can take that from you. You are a son of God, Matthew Poncelet.
This is a powerful moment in the film, for, as viewers, we despise Matthew Poncelet and what he has done, we are irritated by his bravado and cocky attitude, and we are sickened by his disrespect for humanity. But at that moment, when we know God has broken through and touched his heart, we witness something greater than our hate. We are reminded of the measureless love and mercy of Jesus Christ.  
In reading these Scriptures and recalling this film, I am reminded of my own flawed love: Could I ever love such a depraved enemy? Without question, Jesus does.
Paul reminds us that through our faith in Christ, we are brought to a “place of undeserved privilege where we now stand” (Romans 5:2). God’s love for us is incomprehensible. His grace even penetrates the heart of the most despised, undeserving murderer. No one is without God’s love.
As we go into the week doing the best we can to radiate God’s love, let us look on all those we serve with the eyes and heart of Christ and remember that God loves everyone.
In prayer, let us remember the words of the prophet Isaiah:
   1 “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
2 When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
3 For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
  (Isaiah 43:1-3)