John 3:16 is probably the best known verse in the Bible. It so clearly tells us that we are all loved and accepted by God. When it says “God loved the world?,” that means everyone, no exceptions. There are no conditions nor are there any requirements we need to fulfill. We don’t need to point to something we have done to earn God’s favour. There are no forms to fill out, no oaths to swear, no promises to make. There are no religious, cultural or ethical standards we have to meet. All we need to do is to receive and trust the affirmation that God has come down to us, and, through the words of Jesus spoken to us face to face, that God accepts us as we are.
We humans have tests and rules for everything, even friendships. We set standards of acceptability, we make promises, and we meet one another halfway. We negotiate terms and conditions, and we want people around us with whom we are compatible and with whom we feel comfortable.
But God’s arms are open to everyone, including those whom we might find intolerable.
God of love and acceptance, thank you for coming to us and receiving us as we are. Help us to be to others what you are to us. Amen. — RN