St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church
To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God. John 1:12
Today’s verse, which should be comforting and empowering, has too often been misused to suggest that only those people who dutifully recite Christ’s name can be called children of God. One problem with such a view is that the Bible clearly tells us that God looks into our hearts. He sees the good that we have done or not done, the love we have shown or not shown. He isn’t looking for recitations of words; he looks for God-centered lives, lives of loving service, compassion, and acceptance of all people. Another problem is that, when we try to elevate one faith or belief system over another, based on this verse, we are actually putting ourselves in God’s place. We are making ourselves judges of who will or will not pass muster in the kingdom of God.
How arrogant! And how unnecessary. Our time would be better spent appreciating the miracle conveyed in this verse. If we are willing to lift our lives, hearts, and spirits up to God, and to believe in his reality and goodness, we will be his children; all of us, even those who don’t know what to call him or how to worship him—those who simply look inward and heavenward and say ‘Thank you. I love you.’ Even those.
©Carol Dean Henn, 2017