For the Love of God
“Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” ~ Luke 23:34
Before I became a parent, I never understood the complete sacrifice that Jesus made and how He felt on the cross. I could never relate to God’s love but I tried hard to understood the mentality of accepting all of the world’s sin and doing so willingly.
Then I became a mother. When my child was sick, when she was mad, when she was hurt, when she saw others in those same all-encompassing emotions – I understood. I heard Christ’s words. I felt Him say “Father, take it from her and give it to me. I'll take that sin. I'll suffer for it. Give it to me so my child doesn’t have to”.
Anytime something bad happens some will ultimately ask “why did that have to happen”? If it was a death caused by another, we dive in and desperately research into the person’s life to see what could have made them commit the atrocity they committed. We try to make sense of bad things and bad “people” while we also come face to face with our own mortality. Or if it’s an untimely death, we look into the situation and consider what we would have done differently. The fact is that we can die at any minute and it never makes sense to those left behind. But for the most heinous of deaths – war, famine, attacks, murder – it’s unconscionable that a loving God would allow for this to happen. Why can’t He stop a person who is going to commit murder? Why does he allow children to suffer and die?
God gave us this amazing gift of free will. When used in a way that pleases Him, it brings us a joyfulness as well. When we are young and we please our parents – we beam because we want our parents to be proud of us. When we talk the talk and walk the walk we not only make God proud, bring joy to ourselves, but we also allow the world to work as intended. The famished are fed because we don’t waste food or are so litigious that a farmer would rather toss tons of food than share it with those who have none. We certainly wouldn’t bomb our neighbor or care so little of our citizens that someone may choose to attack us to force change.
In the current world, change is brought on through the negative aspects of free will. This amazing gift that God gave us to allow His creation to shine and glorify Him we use to destroy and conquer. We create barriers that encourage selfishness and separation and then we wonder why our climate is as it is (as in humanity but also environmentally).
We’ve perverted and rotten and muddled God’s Holy telephone game. He gave us the Law. He explained why it was necessary (for our own good). When He saw we turned away, conveniently misunderstood, or we misled, He came and offered Himself and yet we still do what we want. What’s convenient for us. What works best for us or our own. We shake our heads at the monsters of change. We hold on to our image or our past as though that is who we are.
Who ARE we? In the Catholic faith, what we all strive for is sainthood. For other denominations or even other faiths – the lessons are of obedience and sacrifice. But why? We are here not as fictional characters in some book or movie. We are flesh and blood made in the image and likeness of God. We know better, we should do better.
It’s to love. That’s all. It’s to love - to show love and to be loved. God is true love.
Sin is sin. Sin isn’t what causes a disruption in relationship on its own. It’s the internal shame and recognition of the sin that separates us. We can counter that shame by living a more present life and being aware of not only our actions but our thoughts. Why are we thinking/doing/feeling? Are we following God or are we changing His words to suit our own? These are things we have to constantly ask ourselves until we are able to do the right thing no matter the cost without having to have (metaphoric) sticky notes all over our house, cars, jobs, etc. Changing your mindset and living for God is the biggest middle finger to sin.
Change can be baby steps. Often we throw ourselves into something passionately and experience a sense of being overwhelmed and drop off as quickly as we came. Small steps are easier to manage and grow into something larger over time. What steps can you take today to make our world closer to what God intended? It doesn’t have to be worldwide change. It can be within yourself, your family, your neighborhood. There’s a saying that says you may not be the one to change the world but you might be raising the one who will. In the throes of being a stay at home parent this resonated with me. I felt unseen and unimportant but recognizing the difference that I can make in these young humans really encouraged me to make those small changes.
As Christians, we have a tendency to focus on our afterlife. Even I speak of it heavily in my writings because I want people to understand that this life is temporary and goes by so incredibly quickly. But we also need to remember that when we leave here, what we’ve left behind has an effect on the world. Don’t abandon the world while you are here. It needs us to be here and to be present. To have an open heart and understand our purpose here. It’s to love. That’s all. It’s to love - to show love and to be loved. God is true love. He created us because of that love and wanting to share that through a relationship and fellowship. Only through love can we show who He is. Only through love can we bring some of heaven to earth. Only through love can we have peace - both in our external world and our internal world.
About: Sosie Matosian resides in Virginia with her husband, three children and two dogs. She has her degree in Biblical Studies from University of Northwestern with additional emphasis and certificate in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She is passionate about sharing her faith with others and brings a personal perspective to the struggles one might face in their journey walking to and with Christ.