Today I wanted to share an excerpt from my prayer and devotion journal from February 23, 2011. It was the day after a St. Petersburg police officer was killed by a 16 year old boy. I was reminded of this journal entry today in church as our pastor spoke about how deeply and unconditionally we are loved by God. That message, along with this journal entry is so timely given all of stories we’ve been reading about in the news.
My bible reading on that day was from Exodus 20:20. “Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you so that that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning”.
I wrote in my journal:
“This passage is so timely given the shooting yesterday of another officer. I was listening to a talk radio show and a lot of people were commenting on how no one has the fear of God in them anymore. But what I think and what I prayed for is for people to know the LOVE of God. Love comes first; the “fear” comes from not wanting to disappoint the person who loves you. If you know that someone loves you so unconditionally, you don’t want to do bad things. You don’t want to disappoint them. Think of the parent of a newborn. They love their child first and foremost; they don’t scare the baby or make it fear them. Parents teach their children by loving them. It is through that love that grows respect. I remember the times in high school when I skipped school. When I got home I was so afraid to face my Dad. I wasn’t afraid of my father, but I was afraid that I had disappointed him. Disappointed the man who loved me so much he would do anything for me. So when I hear “put the fear of God in you” I think it should be the “love of God”. If more people knew the love of God, we would not have these shootings.”
I wrote that almost 4 years ago but it still applies today. We are reading horrific stories every day. Terrorist attacks, school shootings, and in my local news, a father throwing his five year old daughter off a bridge, to her death. We can only wonder what is going through their minds when these people commit these terrible crimes. One thing I do know, there was no love. And the very sad thing is that all of them were loved, unconditionally.
What would our world be like if we all understood the depth of God’s love for us? What would happen if we loved each other as God loved us? Would we have shootings, hate crimes, terrorist attacks?Maybe
Maybe notA much quoted passage from the Bible is 1Corinthians 13.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7Love endures through every circumstance.
You are dearly loved by God. Share that love.