What is the worst thing that can happen to a professional or college athlete? Obviously a career ending injury would have to be one of the worst. But, if you really want a career ending incident, look for that athlete on the cover of Sports Illustrated. You probably thought to yourself, “I should have thought of that!” if you didn’t earlier because everyone “knows” that the greatest curse for an athlete is to end up on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Ok, it doesn’t work in every case, but it worries many athletes. We are fascinated by the idea of curses and it seems that every culture has a “curse” of one kind or another. We know, deep in our hearts though, that curses have no power.
Or do they. Most curses in popular culture involve magic or the supernatural, but God talks about a curse that is actually effective: that our behavior would cause God to turn His back on us and condemn us to hell. If we lived in fear of such a curse, we would be very careful about what we do and what we say. We might be afraid that God will zap us with lightning if we do something really wrong. (Admit it, you have stepped away from someone who said or did something so bad that you thought God would zap them even if you were joking about your action.) It is frightening to realize that since all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, that we are all under the curse of God – except…. The death of Jesus on the cross took care of the curse! “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.’” (Galatians 3:13)
The curse that we deserve from God no longer exists. Jesus took the curse upon Himself when He died on the cross. How freeing is that! We no longer need to live in fear that God will zap us, or someone else, when we do wrong, we no longer need to walk on pins and needles – afraid that we will do something to lose God’s love. Here’s the really good part: I no longer need to point out the sins of others. To be honest, I have enough trouble dealing with my own sin. I don’t need the burden of dealing with the sins of others. What I can do freely is show others the grace of God. I fully believe that most people know their own sins far more than I can comprehend. I also believe that most of those people don’t understand the grace of God that offers forgiveness to all who believe in Him. I can point out the obvious, or I can point out the glorious. I choose to point out the glorious!
Today I urge you to embrace the glorious love and grace of God. Today I urge you to live in the glorious forgiveness of God. It doesn’t matter what your past is, God will accept you if you come to Him. There are many ways I could describe myself. Some of them might be pretentious and flattering. Others might seem to be self-degrading. The one description that I have not earned, but which I am so grateful for is that first I am a child of God. I pray that might describe you as well.
Father God, I don’t deserve to be called Your child. Yet through Your love and grace I have gained forgiveness and have been welcomed into Your family. I pray that all reading this might be the same.