This world is a really big place but so often, things occur in such a synchronized fashion that it can make the world seem very small. Some people call this coincidence, luck, good timing or a variety of other things, but I believe it’s the workings and perfect timing of God. Today, I received another great example of this as well as a reminder of the beautiful way that God’s words and Jesus’ teachings can be approached from more than one angle to bring his children the same message of love.
As I’ve said before, I tend to listen to Rick Warren’s Daily Hope radio broadcast most evenings on my way home from work. Right now he’s preaching through a segment titled, 40 Days of Love. I’ll admit, some days I’m paying more attention than others. If you know anything about me, you know how difficult it can sometimes be for me to focus on one thing at a time because my mind is constantly firing off in all different directions and tangents as I ridiculously try to conquer all of life on my own. For some reason, this issue is especially exacerbated when I’m driving.
It was either Thursday or Friday of last week and I was paying attention as Pastor Rick spoke about how we can’t truly love others until we understand how much God loves us, regardless of who we are or what we have done. He illustrated this point by referencing John 8:1-11, the story of the adulterous woman. I listened intently as Pastor Rick made connections between this story and God’s grace and how we are to accept people even if we don’t approve of their actions.
Fast forward to today when I’m getting ready to go spend time with the kiddos in kids ministry. We didn’t get to bed at a decent time last night, so I decided I would sleep in a little bit and listen to The MET 9:30 am service on-line. The current sermon series is titled, Free, and it highlights the ways in which the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross gave Christians freedom. Today’s particular sermon was focused around the difference between guilt and shame, and guess which story from the Bible was chosen to illustrate this topic? You got it, the adulterous woman. I was reminded that once we have been forgiven of our sin, then it’s over. We are to move on and become better people and not let the actions or decisions of our past cloud our present and destroy our future.
Two different sermons centered around two different angles of God’s love and yet they used the same story as an example. I took it as an indication that I need to slow down today and give this passage some time and truly absorb everything that Jesus is teaching through this isolated act of grace and love. Admittedly, love is something that I personally struggle with and I feel like the similarity in these two sermons is no coincidence. God is speaking to me through this story and telling me that I need to make love a priority. God is love and if we are to be like him, we need first need to be loving.