I believe the road of true holiness is the pathway of love. Since God is love, we can only be loved into the way of becoming more like God. A harsh rebuke does little to change anyone. A judgmental spirit only makes matters worse. Love has a gentleness about her. She is companionable. She knows that growth takes time. We do not become mature by cold fiat, impersonal declaration. Friendship transforms us.
God is our friend. If I can be a friend, I will be more like God. You might say, “Yes, but sometimes a friend needs to say hard things to their friend.” And that is true. But if the hard sayings of friendship begin to outweigh the simple acceptance and affirmations of friendship, I dare say it will not be long before you will lose the friendship. If history teaches us one thing, it teaches us this: judgment is so destructive because it is addictive. Once we start, it is hard to stop.
God is not like that. God is not some frowning person always reminding us of how we are constantly falling short. If that is your image of God, it is not an accurate image. God is the one who not only loves us but God is the one who /likes/ us, imperfect as we are. After all, we are God’s children. How could God not like what God has made?
Because God is love, God is patient with us as we respond to the ways in which God is inviting us to grow. As one author puts it: God has "a surplus of warmth" towards us. God believes in us; that is what Jesus showed us. Jesus showed us that “sinners” become “saints” not by condemnation but by grace, acceptance and true friendship.
“I no longer call you servants…Instead, I have called you friends,” Jesus said. This is an appeal to those who desire to follow Jesus. Let God renew within you this way of grace…not only towards others but also towards yourself. God does not bring down the hammer on you. Let’s not bring it down on others. Practice the way of grace.
reflections by troy cady
*Photo by Josue Michel via Unsplash. Creative Commons License.