“The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” vs. 8
Words of love never get old! We can hear words of love and affirmation from one another every day, many times a day, and they never fail to work their magic. They bring healing to hurting hearts and lift our sagging spirits. In the same way we never tire of hearing from scripture that the Lord abounds in steadfast love and mercy. Fortunately those words of love are scattered throughout the books of the bible, and we get to hear them often. It’s strange then that interpreters of scripture so often skip over those sections and focus on the passages painting a picture of an angry god. Perhaps they have the mistaken impression that people are more motivated by words of law and judgment than they are by words of grace. If so it’s a really strange notion! Sure, an angry parent can get immediate responses with threats and warnings, but such behavior does nothing to draw them closer to their children. Words of love have power and can even mold character and personality. A child who is repeatedly told that she is loved will be changed–the loving draws out the inborn goodness that rests in the hearts of us all. Of course scripture also reminds us to fear God, but that’s only in the sense of respect and honor. Luther tells us that fear and love go together–and both are present in our relationship with God. Because God loves us so much, we fear God all the more!
Thought for the Day: What person do I most want to please?