Mark Kurowski, M.Div.
Mark Kurowski writes on things spiritual.
God is love….God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world… I John 4:8; John 3:17
As I was giving spiritual direction the other day, I was thinking of a way to convey to my client God’s forgiveness. In this world of psychotherapy, it is amazing how much we think that God does not forgive us simply because we have not forgiven ourselves. There is a God and we are not Him: Thanks be to God!
Look around you. Everyone around you is carrying a cross of some kind. Many times, but not all, it is a cross of some sin they committed at some point in their life. Maybe they are committing that sin now. They are worried that people will find out that they had a secret affair (adultery). They are worried that someone will catch them in their lie (bearing false witness). They are depressed that they allowed their financial insecurity to push them into aborting that baby they wished they had carried to term (thou shall not kill). They are torn up that they have cheated their employer to get that raise they know they deserved (no other gods before God).
People, humans, don’t need an angry god because they have themselves. Or, they have some flawed family member who brings up their sins of the past to gain some kind of advantage over them. Why shouldn’t they bring it up? We are all convinced that this world is about power, nothing else.
So, it is not infrequent when people come to me for their spiritual direction with great loads, truck load upon truck load, of guilt, shame, and disappointment in themselves. They live out a terrible existence of fear and self loathing. They have convinced themselves that God does not love them because they are unlovable. So, in the face of the seemingly insurmountable evidence that we are worthless, mean, terrible, disappointing, and failures, how could I express to someone, anyone, the image of God’s love and resistance to condemnation in this life?
The Holy Spirit gave me the gift of a vision. It is the vision I had the pleasure of having five times. I live in an era when men are allowed to enter the delivery room at birth. It is such a privileged time. I have been graced to have witnessed the birth of all five of my children. One was born vaginally and four by c-section. Each one was a stunning and glorious event in their own right.
I can vividly remember the moment when I saw a baby, my baby, lifted up for me to see; my sons, my daughters. Each of them were more beautiful than I could ever imagine! Before they said a word, were able to look at me, give me a scribble and call it a picture, ask for the keys to the car, tell me how wrong I was, or that they loved me, I loved them.
I loved them with a love that was before they were ever born. I loved to sing to them and read stories to them when they were in their mother’s womb. I waited with anticipation to see this child that I loved before they were even formed in the womb. I loved them when they were a thought of how I would love them like my earthly father never loved me.
People, humans, don’t need an angry god because they have themselves.
I love my children. It has been through thick and thin. We have had it all. We have had rebellion. We have had difference. We have had rejection. We have had drugs. We have had depression. We have had pain and anguish. Sure, we have had all of that. Yet, what I remember is the joy of my oldest learning how the solar system worked in a church parish hall. I remember my second child when she was a girl snuggling as I sang “What a friend we have in Jesus” to get her to sleep. I remember my third child, my son, placing his head upon my back as I gave him a piggy back ride at a state park. I remember my fourth child, my son, looking up at me and asking if we were preparing his room for our baby before his sister was born. I remember my fifth child, my daughter, tracking my voice with her little eyes just hours after her birth as her little head rested in the palm of my hand.
You see, I don’t remember the bad stuff much at all because I am enraptured by their existence as living beings in the world. They are called “my sons” and “my daughters”. I have loved them and they are mine. They have been mine way back to the moment my wife smiled at me and said, “We’re pregnant.” That love which hopes all things and believes all things helps me to endure all things.
As I explained to my client, God loves each and every one of us because we are his children. He loved us before we were born, before we said anything, walked anywhere, did anything, or asked for the keys to the planet earth. When you have been blessed to love a person before they did a thing, it is from that place that you can extend that love to cover a multitude of sins. When you believe all things and hope all things, you can endure all things. Such is the love of the Father in heaven who gives to all his children the same love like a closed bud that flowers into the soothing color of forgiveness when we are broken in a greyscale world.
Bring your cross of sin, whatever it is, to the Father through the Son. It is the Holy Spirit that brings you to this place. It is a place of forgiveness for whatever it is that seeks to lie to you that you are not lovable. Receive the loving gaze of forgiveness from a Father who knew you before you were born and doesn’t really care what you did wrong because you have left that behind. All he knows now is that he loves you and you are his. Go, be free.