Family traditions stay with us for life. One of our favorites was to go to the movies on Thanksgiving evening. I remember seeing Rain Man, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Apollo 13, and The Fugitive, among others. In 2009, we saw The Blind Side, a truthful account of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All-American football player and a first-round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family. The family persistently and passionately determined to awaken within Michael this one truth: he was of priceless value and his value didn’t depend on his behavior. Their love scared him and yet softened his soul, transforming this street-smart survivor into a generous, talented football hero.
The same principle can be true of us. When we believe our lives have no value, we often revert to old habits of thinking and behaving, which usually cause us to run from or deny Christ’s unabashed love for us. It’s easy to become blinded to the truth. You and I cannot earn or behave well enough to gain the gift of God’s gracious love. One of the most magnificent moments I’ve had with my son happened when I realized my love for Jon would never compare to Christ’s love for me. Jon can’t behave in a way to earn my love, nor would I base my love for him on what he can do. I love him simply because he is. And that’s how God feels about you and about me. Isn’t that amazing grace, a sound so sweet it melts our hardened souls?
As we embark on this new year, may God remind you and me over and over and over that God’s unimaginable, unending, abounding love embraces each of us. It doesn’t matter what you can or can’t do. You are loved for being you. What a wonderful truth to embrace.