I’ll Have the Love with a Side of Grace

Valentines Day. Love it or hate it, it comes every February 14th and the stores are decked out in hearts, candy, cheesy stuffed animals and cards. In fact, on February 13th you can stroll the aisle of any major retailer and see guys with panicked faces trying to find that special gift that says “ I Love You”.

I believe God the Father actually CREATED Valentine’s Day, when His only begotten son was born in a stable. Jesus was and still is the perfect gift that says “ I Love YOU, I love ALL of you and I’m going to prove it by giving you the most precious thing I have, and I’m going to redeem you from the curse of sin.” Then, I think He whispered “Happy Valentine’s Day”.

Each February 14th, my husband out does himself, and it’s a tradition in our home to have a family meal followed by a homemade cake in the shape of a heart. And while I love giving and receiving Valentine’s gifts and helping decorate school “mailboxes”, on this particular day I am more aware of God’s unfailing, unconditional love for ME. A sinner, unworthy, yet He shed His blood for ME.

Then, I’m convicted. Because sometimes, especially when working in the field of Anti-Human trafficking, I think that there are certain people more deserving of God’s love than others. I often encounter this thought and wrestle with it the most while doing outreach late at night, knocking on motel doors or driving the streets that are known for illegal activity. And in full disclosure and complete transparency, I don’t even have to be entangled in the world of anti-trafficking to have those thoughts; because often times I, in my day to day life struggle with feelings that some people are more deserving of God’s love than others.

It’s easy for me reach out and share God’s love with the lady hiding from her abusive boyfriend who has bereted her and beat her down. I want her to know that she is loved, that God sees her as beautiful and worthy of HIS affection. It’s easy for me to love the young kids who have told stories to their parents about where they are, when in fact they’ve rented a room for $20.00 an hour for no other purpose than to get high. I want to wrap my arms around them in their dazed state and say, “Hey, it’s okay. Whatever you are trying to forget, or prove, or heal, or numb, God loves you and HE can give you a future.”

But the man who entraps women in the world of sex slavery, the parent who is abusive to their kids, the teacher who takes advantage of students, the business man that is unfaithful to his wife, the woman who fills the need for affirmation with one night stands, or the school bully who is hateful and mean? I don’t want to share anything with them. Not a smile, or a friendly conversation and especially the love of God. See? I told you that I struggle with the idea that some are more deserving of God’s love than others.

And at the moment that I begin to justify in my mind the reason for withholding grace and love and mercy, I am reminded of my sin, my pride, my selfishness, my impatience, my ugly words and pouting and about a hundred other things that I struggle with and then I hear God say “Why are you more deserving of my love than them? Didn’t I meet Saul on the Road to Damascus? Saul, that was killing my followers? If he was worthy of a life-changing encounter with me, isn’t everyone?”

BAM. Like a 2×4 in the face, that’s how God has to communicate with me at times. We are ALL worthy, ALL loved, and He gave us ALL the gift of his Son and we are ALL deserving of a “Road to Damascus” encounter that changes our lives.

I want to encourage you, and myself as well, to ask the Father for HIS heart towards humanity… ALL humanity. because if not for the cross and His forgiveness we wouldn’t know what the true gift of LOVE is all about.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

XO, Gena

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