"For God so loved the world" not "the church". I know this makes any religious person cringe in the most defensive ways but I promise I come to this with a word and revelation that God has blessed me to experience.
Do you know about Transformation Church with Pastor Michael Todd? I could not fall asleep last night to save my life and watched his "Grace like a flood series" to its entirety. Why is this relevant? What does this how to do with that
You: Why is this relevant? What does this have to do with your outrageous headline? Get to the point.
I gotchu! Basically, this revolutionary word was being preached about Grace and Love. I heard him make a point that references John 3:16 which says "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life".
I believe we're all given different revelations from the word that God knows we need for the lives he planned for us but this word is too amazing. I know that this is something he wants us all to be able to understand and walk in. He can also help us gain this understanding and change our hearts to be able to do it out of love.
The significance of this word for me is seen through the lens of grace. This is the part where you should lean in because I can't even describe the power if you get this.
Through the lens of grace, we're able to see John 3:16 as a reminder of the beauty in being grace-conscious as believers. To even point out that the scripture says God so loved the 'world' and not 'the church' isn't saying that God doesn't love the church. The point is that God loved all of us so much, believers and non-believers, that he sent his son to pay a debt that we could never pay for on our own because he's so madly in love with us.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.
Christ is our kinsman redeemer in that he was the word wrapped in flesh. He understands everything you're going through with enemies, people talking about you, persecution, the enemy tempting you, the enemy taunting you and accusing you, priorities, friendship drama, relationship drama and more. He walked it out already for us in the perfect way that he is and wants to guide us through what we don't know how to do.
Through the lens of grace, John 3:16 should make you think about the heart of God. Through this lens, John 3:16 exemplifies Luke 15:4 of how Jesus will leave the ninety-nine to get the one. He is Good. He is Perfect. He is Love. There's no other explanation for it.
Let's put it in perspective. *Warning the following messages are not for people who don't want to be more like Jesus or love like Jesus or mature in Christ*
So for the people or person you "can't stand" or "don't like".. You need the SAME grace as them. The grace you needed and will need for the mistakes you make every day, knowingly or unknowingly, is the same grace that those people need. The grace you needed for the most stupid or manipulative or embarrassing things you have done is the same grace that the ones who have mistreated you need.
There is no such thing as you being better than them. Matter of fact, you can't be better than anybody. Ever. Even if you think you are or want to.
The reason why I gave a warning that this level of a faith and love message isn't for people who want to become more like Jesus is because this is what he had to bare. Everything you will ever go through, Jesus has gone through it in excruciating ways more out of his love and sacrifice to redeem you so that your sin wouldn't separate you from God. So that you prideful thoughts and manipulative ways wouldn't be enough to stop God from loving on you.
The reason why I gave this warning is because to become more like God is to become more like Love because God is Love (1 John 4). This is not a characteristic or personality treat. This is WHO HE IS, therefore, He can't do anything acting outside of love. This is his entire being. (I am completely quoting the sermon because this is That good). A sign that you're maturing in Christ and becoming more like God is if you're becoming more like love.
So when you're looking at extending grace towards people that challenge your faith through this kind of lens of love then you see that this is all about love. This is about Him. When God is convicting you to extend grace to someone who has mistreated you it's about Him because it's about Love and He. Is. Love. This is about the love story of God and all his children. This lens helps your heart to see that behaviors and things that challenge your faith
This lens helps your heart to see that nothing anyone could ever do to you is more important than Him and His love. He's worth it, every time. The person who mistreats you being able to experience falling in love with the one who will be all you'll ever need because you were obedient when God asked you to submit to representing Him to them is worth it. Because God is always worth it and its always about Him.