“God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
I asked her to tell me about her son. “He’s a smart boy, really smart. He can add stuff in his head faster than I can write it out on paper. And oh, he can sing – he has such a good voice. I think he could be a singer if he tried. But he gets bored easy. That’s why he gets into trouble at school.”
We met for coffee so she could talk through some difficult things she was facing, largely brought about by this boy. But before I asked about her son, she told me about herself. She told me that she didn’t believe God could ever love her. She had done things that she was ashamed of. She was pretty wild in her youth, disrespectful to her parents, and teachers. She got drunk the night of the prom, slept with her boyfriend, and became pregnant. She and the baby’s father tried to make it right by getting married, but now – 17 years later – she was three failed marriages down and living with a man she met at a bar. She had started coming to our church a few months ago in a last-ditch effort to straighten her son out. That is until the deacons told her the boy was not welcome after he played too rough with some of the younger students and somebody got hurt. The very next day the police were at her house with a report about her boy and the neighbor’s little girl and the latest nightmare unfolded. Yet, as much as her son’s actions weighed on her, I could tell something else was even heavier on her heart.
“How could God love me? I’ve made a mess of my life and I’ve even screwed up my kid.”
“So you probably don’t love your son anymore after all the trouble he’s caused you.”
“What? Of course I still love my son! That’s crazy! Why would I stop loving him just because he’s made some mistakes?”
“I just thought – since you believe God quit loving you because you messed up, you must have quit loving your son too.”
She looked at me as if an entire block of lights had gone off in her head. The weight of so much guilt and fear disappeared from her eyes while tears dripped off her chin and onto her sweater.
Beloved, I don’t know what you’re carrying around today. I don’t know your past. I don’t even know your present. But there is one thing I know beyond a shadow of a doubt. If Christmas is about anything at all, it is about God pouring out His unfailing love on messed up people.