1 Corinthians 4:1-5;Psalm 37:3-6, 27-28, 39-40; Luke 5:33-39
“He … will manifest the motives of our hearts, and then everyone will receive praise from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:5)
Sometimes we picture a scowling God, a deity who is biding his time, just waiting to pounce on us for our transgressions. But today’s first reading paints a very different picture. God the Father is indeed biding his time. But what he is really waiting for is his opportunity to praise every one of his children, no matter how many missteps we have made, no matter how flawed we may think we are.
Do you believe that your Father is searching out every trace of goodness within you so that he can lavish praise on you? Every time you have sought to know him better, he has smiled. Every time your heart has been stirred by a breath of compassion for another child of his, he has recognized his love at work in you and tried to increase it. Every time you have made the smallest effort at self-discipline, he has happily blessed your sacrifice.
This truth about the way our Father looks at us can teach us how to treat each other. It can teach us to look for that spark of goodness God has placed in every person’s heart. Teachers of students with challenging behaviors like to focus on the positive instead of the negative. They try to “catch them being good.” Similarly, we can make it a point to always have something positive to say about the people in our lives. Even if the negative far outweighs the positive, we can remember the way God looks at us, and try our best to look at each other in the same way.
Remembering how God looks at us can also help us to find peace in ourselves. Failures don’t have to derail us. Missteps don’t have to become occasions for self-condemnation. Rather, they can be opportunities to learn how to do better. They can send us back to our Father, where we can receive his encouragement. God wants to give us his grace so that we can learn from our mistakes and keep building on the goodness he has shown us.
May the goodness and mercy of God shape all of our hearts!
“Father of mercy, thank you for the encouragement you lavish on me. Teach me to see the whole world through your eyes of love!” ~WAU