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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, November 17, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | 1 John 3:1–3

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. (NRSV)

God provides us with a type of love that is incomprehensible to many of us (I know it is to me!). It’s a tough concept to grasp, that God’s love is completely unconditional. In the opening of chapter three, John tells us of this love, and reminds us that we are all children of God. 

John’s writing also reminds me that I need to live like Jesus did. In our fourth- and fifth-grade Sunday school classes, many of our recent discussions have led to the topic of compassion, and how to show God’s love to other people. One student brought up how difficult it is to show compassion and love to people when it seems like they don’t deserve to be loved. It’s a tough conversation for kids (and adults) on a Sunday morning. 

This conversation reminded me of my dad. Many years ago, he served on a jury at a fairly high profile death penalty murder trial in St. Louis County. The defendant had entered into his divorce trial with a briefcase that held two guns. He opened fire in the courtroom, killing his wife and injuring four others. The jury was sequestered, and the trial lasted several weeks, during which we had no contact with my father. As the weeks went on, the news reported that one juror was holding the trial up, and did not want the defendant to receive the death penalty. That juror was my dad. He showed love and compassion to someone that many others could not. I still get choked up thinking about that. 

As we go to work and school today, remember to show love and compassion to everyone, even when it is tough to do so. 

Loving and gracious God, I am so grateful to be your child, and to experience your incredible love, even though I may not be able to comprehend it.  Help me to live and love like Jesus, particularly when I’m struggling to do so. Amen.

Written by Briana Belding-Peck, Family Ministry Coordinator

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