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John Simmons

When God first entered this world through the small vessel of a baby boy, He wasn’t looking for grandest human being in all the world. God wasn’t looking for the most perfect saint either that He might unite with Him.

No

God would embrace us and take our human nature head on. He would not demand from us what we should be but rather manifest His love to us (Jesus is that revelation) just as we are. It is the same with you brother and sister.  Here below is a beautiful story in Brennan Mannings book, The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus

“Once upon a time there was a girl named Jackie who lived in the ghetto of a large American city. She never knew her father: Whoever he was, he was never married to her mother. Jackie lived with her mother but never knew a mother’s love; her mother was harsh, cruel, brutal. It didn’t take Jackie long to discover the truth about the long line of uncles who periodically stayed with them.

Growing up in this kind of jungle, surrounded by bitterness and contempt, Jackie quickly built up a hard shell of self-defense. People were out to get what they could, and if you were in their way, they would trample you.

As she advanced into her teens, she became an object of interest for men. But that was just the trouble: She was merely an object, a source of entertainment. A “Kleenex” girl, they called her, to be used and tossed away. Jackie felt the only way she could survive was to get the world before the world got her. So she tuned out, cut off, closed in.

And then one day in summer she met, quite by chance, a young graduate student who was working in the ghetto as part of his field experience in social work. His background had been much different from hers. He had grown up with love, understanding and trust. Consequently he was a secure man who valued himself not for what he accomplished but just because of who he was. Peter was a warm, loving person.

When he first saw Jackie, he greeted her with a friendly smile, but she gave him one of those if-looks-could-kill glances in return. This didn’t put Peter off; he continued to say hello day after day. At first Jackie only sneered, but little by little his warmth and openness began to penetrate her shell. One day she gambled on a nod, a day or so later mumbled, “Hi.” She still thought he was just like the rest of the men she knew, even though his tactics might be a little subtler. But he was simply a nice guy whose heart had reached out with a gratuitous offering of sympathy and compassion. She couldn’t believe he was honestly interested in her just for herself. But she began to hope it might be true.

A strange transformation began to take place. Her vulgar language was the first thing to change, followed by a new concern for personal appearance. It wasn’t just the externals like combed hair, washed face, clean clothes: A new inner light started to show itself. As a person she was beginning to bloom, and his love seemed to be responsible for it all. He wasn’t just playing social worker; he was deeply interested, he cared, he gave himself. In her response to his gift of friendship, she was called to an attitude of trust that became very painful. For she eventually found herself forced to turn away from all her old convictions and suspicions.

In a real sense, she died to her old self: the mask, the phony facade, the front she hid behind—all were shredded. At the end of that summer, he told her of his love and forced the issue. She was brought to a brink. If she acknowledged her love for him, she would be opening herself to the risk of rejection (and there had been plenty of that already); but after a torturous struggle, she made the leap and surrendered her heart in trust. It seemed she had abandoned everything, yet she felt richer for it. She had become a new person.”

This has described my spiritual life to a proverbial “T”.  For much of my walk it was works and bartered base.  God’s love would only make itself known to me only by how holy I tried to be and for what its worth, I struggled immensely. The most devastating thing we can do to our spiritual walk is fall into the mindset that “this” is a transaction.  If I do this, God will love me, if I dont do this he is ready to lay down the hammer.

I think one of the things we struggle with is that we know God loves us in our heads but it never reaches the heart. Its only when our state of belovedness reaches our heart that transformation truly begins and the beauty of our “son ship” manifest itself both inwardly and outwardly, not just on a personal level but communal as well. Think about it, how else do we experience the beauty of all things becoming new if we don’t let Him love us right where we are?

I pray this brings you much grace.

Blessings,

John

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