"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."1
"In her memoirs, an anonymous woman writes of her experiences as a field nurse in the Civil War. She worked for the Confederate forces, patching up dozens of wounded, sick soldiers every day. One day at the war's end, news came that President Lincoln would be visiting this Confederate field hospital. Many of the rebel soldiers were terrified of meeting him. Surely Lincoln was a monster, and he would treat the Confederate soldiers cruelly! But when Lincoln entered the hospital tent, he began to cry. He bent over the injured soldiers' cots and spoke softly to them. He patted their hands and stroked their hair, just as a father might do. And when he left, the men couldn't stop talking about what a good man he was. They had expected a tyrant, and found instead a kind and gentle and forgiving leader."2
In childhood days I used to believe that God was out to get me for any wrongs I might do. And, if I committed big or bad enough sins, he might even kill me. Unfortunately, that came from how I felt about someone who had a profound impact on my early life. Unfortunately, I had mistakenly projected my feelings towards him onto God, the Heavenly Father.
How glad I am to learn how wrong I was. It is true that God is against all sin and wrongdoing, not because he's out to zap us, but because he is truly a loving Father who wants to protect us from hurting ourselves and others—and to save us from the ultimate consequences of sin which is eternal death, which, in turn, is eternal separation from God, the author of all love and life.
The fact is that no matter what you and I have ever done or have failed to do, God loves us with an everlasting, unconditional love. But he does want us to come to him for forgiveness and to help us live wholesome, meaningful, and loving lives.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you love and accept me as I am, and that you also love me too much to leave me as I am. Please help me to know that I know that my sins are forgiven and that I have accepted your gift of eternal life. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
NOTE: To be sure your sins are forgiven and that you have God's gift of eternal life, click on the link to Know God at http://tinyurl.com/real-christian.
1. John 3:16 (NIV).
2. Kemp Battle, Hearts of Fire: Great Women of American Lore and Legend (New York: Harmony Books, 1997), pp. 332-333.