16 God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. 17 God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
If you memorized John 3:16 as a kid, but never thought about John 3:17, I’d encourage you to take time to add it to your memory banks right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait. It’s that important.
The world is already overfull of judgment. We can (and do) find criticism and condemnation pretty much everywhere we go – whether in real life or online. A kind word is devilishly hard to find.
We don’t need more judgment. We need more grace.
Only grace can heal the world. More than ever, the world needs to know the God we see in the face of Jesus Christ – compassionate, kind, loving, forgiving. Some people think of grace as too soft, too squishy, as opening too much opportunity to be taken advantage of.
To which Jesus might reply: So what?
This is why we love Christmas. This tiny child, come down from heaven to live in our world, is tangible evidence of God’s love for us: the gift of grace in a world of judgment.
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
When you’ve made mistakes, what motivates you to change? How could grace be a motivator of change?
Today, make it a point to watch for moments when you are tempted to respond from a place of judgment rather than a place of grace. Pray that God will help you to make more grace-full choices.