God Will Still Love Me
This Lent, there’s been a phrase that has been said to me multiple times, mainly in reference to a rationalization of breaking one’s fast: “God will still love me”. It comes with the job I suppose but it’s an awkward thing to encounter especially when someone is clearly looking for you to validate their decision or desire to break their fast.
While pondering this, another similar phrase came to mind: “I’m aiming for Purgatory”. Another one that just rubs me the wrong way.
I don’t write this post in judgement, as I too have said or thought these sentiments many times myself. But this Lent, that first thought in particular has caused me much discomfort in trying to discern the best way to respond to it. Just over the last few days while pondering these sentiments and doing my own spiritual readings I found God speaking Truth to my heart.
Both of these phrases fall short. Remarkably short.
So let’s unpack them a bit…
In relation to the first remark- will God still love you even if you break your fast early or because it’s inconvenient with your social plans? Plain and simple, yes. Absolutely. 100%.
Yet, that was never the question, was it?
Because if you believe in and profess Christ as your Savior in the first place, then He proved that unending love once and for all when He willingly agonized in the Garden of Olives, being crushed like an olive itself by the weight of every variety of sin we’ve ever committed so much so that His own blood seeped out of His Sacred pores just as oil does from that very olive. Or when He willingly gave Himself up to His dearest of friend turned enemy, Judas and his band of soldiers. When He willingly refused to defend Himself to Pilate who questioned truth to Truth Himself. When He willingly knelt down to receive a scourging that ripped the skin right off His back. When He willingly stood on His decimated feet, wrapped in a purple cloak, crown of barbarous thorns piercing His skull, listening to those exact ones He loved, He would always love, mock, ridicule, and ravenously shout any excuse they could think of to call for His death. A death that again, He freely and willingly accepted out of love for mankind, love for the kind of man who says “God will still love me” when they go back on the word they gave to the Word Himself at the start of Lent.
Yes, God will still love. But that was never the question. The question is and has always been- How much do you love God?
And this question ties us right back into the second sentiment- “I’m aiming for Purgatory”. Yes, perhaps this comes from some seemingly reverent and humble place, but if we unpack it further we find two things. 1. A lacking in our determination to do everything we possibly can to serve God with every single ounce of our love while on this Earth. 2. A lacking in our trust that when we do fall short, continually and expectedly, that our God, who suffered a torturous death unlike anyone who was or is to come for us, has the power to redeem those failings just as He did with Peter and make us into one of the greatest Saints the world and heaven itself has ever seen.
There is a prayer that now hangs on my wall as a constant reminder of who I am called to be and who God is: Bold prayers honor God. God honors bold prayers.
In a world where it’s so easy to make excuses and rationalize our decisions I urge you my dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
BE BOLD AND LOVE GOD WITH EVERYTHING YOU HAVE AND EVERYTHING YOU ARE.
Anything short of that will not cause God to love you less but it will in fact show God how much you love Him.
On this holiest of Saturdays, as we wait -are still- let us unite our hearts with the Apostles and disciples who asked the same question in the midst of their own agonizing tears and raw hearts two thousand years ago- how much do I love God?