We don’t believe in a God who gives us things we have to bear. We don’t believe in a God who tests us by bringing difficult and painful things into our lives. Instead, we believe in a God that sustains us, walks with us, and cares for us when difficult and bad things happen during the course of life.

We can’t forget an unmistakable reality when it comes to God. We talked about it at the beginning of this sermon. 1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love. So the truth in the statement “love the sinner, hate the sin” stops with the very first word. Love.

 

It’s our job to love. So let’s love our neighbor. Let’s love each other. And let’s extend the same grace to each other that God extends to us all.

We all interpret the Bible. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with interpreting the Bible. Because what the word interpret means is that we’re trying to understand something. And when we read the Bible, we should try to understand it.

 

But, we need to make sure that we are interpreting the Bible through the right lens. And, as Christians, the lens that we need to use when we are interpreting the Bible is Jesus.

Jesus helps those who cannot help themselves when he feeds the multitudes, calms the stormy seas,  and  lays down his life to forgive us of our sins.

We see this play out so many times not only in Jesus’ life  that we even have a word for it. When God helps someone who cannot help themself, we call it grace.

We say that “everything happens for a reason” as a way to try to make sense out of pain and suffering in the world around us. But we will never figure out why bad things happen to good people.

 

But here’s what we can understand. We can understand that God loves us and cares about us.

Easter is an event that shows how much God loves you.

 

Have you realized that yet? Have you realized that Easter shows how much God loves you? Have you realized how much you need God in your life? Have you been truly changed by this event…because it’s so much more than history, Easter is personal.

When we forgive we don’t forgive the action, we forgive the person.

Forgiving a person means that that person is still a person. And that person is still loved by God – even if we can’t bring ourselves to love them again.

It’s not just okay to call out to God when you’re hurting...it’s also okay to call God out when you’re hurting. 

 

It’s okay to feel mad. It’s okay to get angry. It’s okay to feel like you’re abandoned. It’s okay to feel like you’re alone. It’s okay to wonder how long you’re going to have to suffer, and it’s okay to ask how long you’ll have to wait for God to do something about it.

Pain has a purpose. Pain is a warning system that lets us know that something is wrong and it needs our immediate attention.

 

And that’s not just true of physical pain. That’s true about every kind of pain: physical, spiritual, emotional, and psychological pain are all warnings that something isn’t right and it needs our immediate attention.

Beginning this Sunday, March 20, masks will be optional for anyone attending in-person services or activities at Melbourne Heights.

 

As you make your decision on wearing a mask, we encourage you to consider your individual risk as well as the individual risks of those people you regularly come in contact with. And remember that just because many COVID-19 restrctions are being eased that does not mean that this potentially deadly virus has gone away.