Wednesday, March 14, 2012

(Dutch) Reformed Church in America Daily Prayer Request for Wednesday, 14 March 2012


Lent Devotions

Posted: 13 Mar 2012 07:55 AM PDT
It's never too late. No matter how "afflicted" or "sick through sinful ways" one is, no matter how lost a person may be, God will never abandon that person. God's love for every person is allencompassing, timeless, unconditional. God will love you no matter who you are or what you have done. When all hope is seemingly lost and a person's life is a black abyss, God will still be there offering unconditional love.
I work as a teacher for incarcerated adolescents. My students are in jail, unable to make bail as they sit for months waiting to find out what their fate will be. My students are sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen years old. They have committed the most egregious sins. They have murdered, raped, and robbed. It's not uncommon for my students to come into class to inform me that they have been sentenced to three years in prison. Or five. Or twenty. One of my students received a forty-five year sentence. He was sixteen. These kids have been abandoned and forsaken by just about all of society, but they are still God's children and they deserve the same unconditional love as anyone else does.
When God loves unconditionally, that includes these kids. He doesn't look at what they did and determine that they no longer deserve his love. It's unconditional—no questions asked. No bias. They are still God's children and he will love them as much as he loves Jesus.
It's also no surprise that these kids "cry to the Lord in their trouble." I see many of my students carrying miniature Bibles or copies of the Koran. Why? Because when everyone else has abandoned them, God has not. God offers them hope and healing and "deliverance from destruction."
Just as God offers unconditional love, so must we, but it's not easy. It would be much easier to just forsake these kids as criminals and abandon them. It takes courage, patience, and strength to be able to love unconditionally. I don't judge my students. I can't. If I did, I wouldn't be able to teach them. So I try to teach them as God's kids and not as outcasts. A student once thanked me. He said that our school is the only place where they are still treated like the kids that they are. It's never too late to be loved. And it's never wrong to love.
Dear God, give us the courage and strength to love others unconditionally, both friends and strangers, for we are all God's children and are equal in his eyes. Help us remember that nobody who walks this earth deserves more or less love than anyone else. Amen.
Nick Licata, member of Marble Collegiate

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