Sunday, 22 October 2017

Not Mutually Exclusive by Emily Owen

I came to write this blog and my mind was an absolute blank. Sometimes I can chivvy it out of blankness, but not today. So I did all the usual distraction things; make a cup of tea, check my emails, read the paper, make another cup of tea, have a look on Facebook.  The tea was very tea-like, the emails stimulating, the paper interesting, and Facebook?  Facebook had a memory for me.

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote my first blog for ACW:

I wrote about my goddaughter’s spelling mistakes in a card she sent me.  I know; how mean is that.

The memory popping up on Facebook prompted me to have another look at the card (more distraction?!) and I realised that, in pointing out the mistakes on the inside, I’d bypassed the front.

She was saying “I love you” and yet I’d chosen to focus on the mistake inside. 

How often do we do similarly with God?  As we look at our lives, our work, our writing (in my case today, literally a blank screen), it can be so easy to home straight in on our mistakes.  Zoom in on things we could have done better. Scrutinise our failings. Criticise ourselves. Examine everything we can’t do.

Yes, of course we need to be aware of things that go wrong but, in doing so, perhaps we forget that those mistakes are still covered by God’s love.

Awareness of mistakes and awareness of God’s love are not mutually exclusive.

But perhaps we forget.

Perhaps we allow the mistakes to exclude the love.

Or to stop us from receiving that love.

And perhaps it’s good to be reminded that we don’t need to do that, ever.

One day last week, my two year old niece came to me to say goodnight.

Me: I love you.

Her: Ok.

Acceptance.  It’s as simple as that.

When Jesus says, ‘I love you,’

He means it.

And he means you.

Not your next-door neighbour,

or the girl who works in Tesco,

or the man who fixes your car.


When Jesus says, ‘I love you,’

He means now.

Not yesterday,

not tomorrow,

not next month.


When Jesus says, ‘I love you,’

He means always.

Not only when you’re good,

or happy,

or successful,

or serving.


When Jesus says, ‘I love you,’

He means he understands.

The struggle,

the pain,

the feeling of failure.

He understands.

When Jesus says, ‘I love you,’

He means ‘don’t let me go.’

Let me care for you,

be there for you -

‘don’t let me go.’

When Jesus says, ‘I love you,’

It’s all you need to hear.

To get through the day,

to face the future,

to live with the past.

It’s all you need to hear.

When Jesus says, ‘I love you,’

He’s there through thick or thin.

The sad times,

the happy times,

the lonely times,

despairing times.

Through thick or thin.

‘Can anything separate us from the love of Christ?

No, in everything we are more than conquerors…

…neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

(Romans 8 v 35-39)

When Jesus says, ‘I love you,’

He says, ‘you’re precious in my sight’.

I made you.

I could have made anything I wanted,

so I did.

I made you.

Emily Owen 2017