I sat down to complete an online training course. Since I am certified in speech-language pathology, I am required to complete trainings as part of certificate maintenance. Little did I realize that this time-consuming obligation would be an eye-opening revelation.
The training was focused on shaping negative thinking toward students with disabilities. How I, as an SLP, could help students as a whole. This training began with a warm-up in hopes to show the trained professional how they, too, may perceive others with negative views.
What followed were a series of eight photos. Every two would compare someone vs someone else. We were, then, advised to write our feelings about the individuals shown. Whether those feelings were positive, negative, or neutral.
I was appalled by the negative thoughts I assumed about some of these individuals. Although it’s true that culture, society, religious beliefs, and the like have influenced some of these viewpoints. However, what alarmed me the most was realizing these people have their own voice, motives, and experiences that have made them to be who they are. Who am I to judge just by how they look in a photo?
God reminded me of His truth which solidified this conviction;
..The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7 NLT
In that moment, I had the greatest revelation of the love that God has for all mankind.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16 NLT
I read and re-read this great love account.
1) God loved the world- The word world referenced here means the inhabitants of the earth, the human race. Not just those whom I personally have a positive viewpoint towards. And thanking God that He does love us even now. Despite all that I/we have said or done.
2) He gave His one and only Son- ..He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. -Romans 8:3 NLT
3) so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.- It is not safe for me to assume I know what a person believes because from the outside it appears as if they “have it altogether”. It’s also not safe for me to assume someone doesn’t believe because their outward appearance is different from my personal convictions.
The profound sacrifice of Jesus is love at it’s purest. And it is meant for all mankind. For everyone who will believe. I am so glad it was not up to me.
God, in His great grace and mercy, knew that we as humans would not be able to fulfill this most perfect plan. We would be swayed by temptations, evil thoughts, or wrong heart motives. After all, that is the epitome of sin itself.
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. -2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT
The physical evidence of what I see can be so deceiving. And sometimes it’s not. But, it’s not up to me. It’s determined by the ransom paid by Jesus upon the cross. I stand in awe of the wonderous works of our loving Father.
His commandment to love one another should not be perceived as a time-consuming obligation. Choosing to love is an eye-opening revelation. I am to love just as He has loved all the inhabitants of the earth.
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.-John 15:9, 10, 12 NLT