Honest Christianity – liberty or licence or love?

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I am keen on memorable quotes, one of my all time favourites is this:

What ever I do, God cannot love me any more or any less.

I referred to this quote today a part of a talk at Sally’s first communion today. I was doing the loving yourself part, others talked about loving God and loving your neighbour. (We each had only five minutes – perhaps the most challenging part of the task!) As much as I love and believe these words, they are full of danger as well as affirmation and blessing. If I misunderstood this quote, I could take it to mean that I do not need to try and be the person God wants me to be – I can do what I like and God still loves me! It could be misconstrued to mean something like the danger Paul warns the Romans about in Romans 6.1 “What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound?” I think the answer to this was no!

Also it is not to say that we cannot grieve God, make God sad, hold back how much kingdom God desires to come. Let’s not kid ourselves, we can upset God, but it does not and cannot change how much God loves us. However, I do not have a licence to do what ever I want, the statement for me, it more of a reflection on the power of God’s love and the risk God takes in the liberating licence I have when I live in this truth.

This is God’s gracious, generous promise to Sally in her Priesting, in her ongoing ministry, to the people of God to whom she has the privilege of serving and to all of us.

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2 thoughts on “Honest Christianity – liberty or licence or love?

  1. Thank you Paul. You and Sally always have so many words of encouragement…words that are a blessing to me, as I am sure they are to many others.

    When I first read the quote ,”What ever I do, God cannot love me any more or any less”, I took time to reflect on it myself before reading what you had to say…these CYM tutors who teach theological reflection do consume alot of thinking time! As I first thought about it my interpretation was quite different, but I guess simply because of my current circumstances. To me God said, “I love you for who you are Lucy, not for what you do/can’t do”. As in your reflection, my above understanding of what God was saying could be full of danger. If lived out wrongly it could lead me to think that I didn’t need to bother about serving God because he loves me anyway. That is not what it meant though. It came as a real affirmation, especially as love is something I have always struggled to feel. I think as Christians it is easy to focus upon ministry rather than God at times (something I know I have been guilty of); to let what we do become all consuming, either leading to burnout of neglect of our relationship with God; to be workers rather than servants. For me, my life has been about serving God through leadership since my teanage years; helping others has become part of my identity. Having M.E has led me to be very restricted in what I can do, not even being able to attend church or meet with other Christians regularly. It has felt as if part of my identity/being has been stripped away and with that I have felt guilty of letting God down; longing to serve him but not knowing how. Something I continue to grapple with. The words today were a big blessing.

    I totally agree with your interpretation and I know that I have and continue to fall short at many times, but I also know that God loves me and will always walk by my side. It is very difficult emotionally and spiritually to make the transition from being an active community minister to someone who is mainly house/bedbound. I know I am far from perfect, but I know God understands and loves me for the person I am…even if I can not always feel that love.

    My thoughts and prayers are with Sally in her priesting; with you, and to you both in your ongoing ministries as God blesses those you come into contact with. I pray that you may both know his blessings on your lifes too and that you may able to get the balance right of simply ‘being’ in the presence of God.

    • Hi Lucy, thanks – had a lovely weekend and I felt very blessed by all the support etc. Have found a retreat that might work for you – it is for youth workers and they have a room for people in a wheelchair – will forward you details – it is in Derbyshire so hopefully you might be able to make it.

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