I recently watched the newly released move, “The Shack“. There are a lot of opinions and critiques (both positive and negative) about this film. This is to be expected with any movie but especially movies that speak of Jesus. The name of Jesus offends people. It is controversial. The bible says that there is power in the name of Jesus and that at the NAME of Jesus, “every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:9). This movie (and book) may not be 100% accurate based on scripture, but the overall message of this movie is love, forgiveness, and healing. I am not a movie critic, but here is a thorough critique by Plugged In and Focus on the Family, a Christian ministry. One of the topics of discussion is that The Shack portrays God as one who does not punish sin. God indeed punishes sin, but I believe the positive message that the movie brings outweighs the missteps. I encourage anyone to read the article if you are being deterred or discouraged about the negative critiques of this movie. I loved both the book and the movie despite any misconception it might have. I know our God will use this movie for His good and will bring people to Jesus, will help hurting people work through their pain, and shatter the stereotype that God is not a loving God.
God is not mad at you. I love Joyce Meyer’s story about posting this comment on Facebook one day. The response she received from this simple sentence was overwhelming, read about it here. What is it that makes us think God is mad at us? I know the bible speaks about God’s punishment/wrath, but the bible speaks more about his love, forgiveness, and the righteousness we have in Christ! The bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8), that he forgives us (1 John 1:9), and when we receive Jesus in our hearts “we become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). I love The Message version of the same scripture, it says “God put the wrong on him (Jesus) who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.” Joyce Meyer has a video clip that explains that God loves to help us, watch it here.
Today, I just want us to accept God’s love for us. Without question, without hesitation, and without doubt. God loves you, period. The bible says that there is nothing that can separate us from His love (Romans 8:39-39). Not anything! Yes we make mistakes, big ones. But God IS love, and nothing we have done (or will do) surprises Him. He was there with us when we made those terrible mistakes. He loved us through them without question! Psalms 103:10-13 says, “He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For His unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.” God hates sin, not us.
You see, that’s called GRACE. Whenever I hear or read the word, “grace” I substitute it with the phrase, “undeserved favor”. There is nothing we could ever do to earn God’s gift of grace or salvation. We just have to accept it, by receiving Jesus into our hearts and believing that He is who God says he is…His son. What a miraculous gift that is!
Prayer: Lord, I receive your love for me today. Holy Spirit, help me to fully accept your grace, love, and righteousness. I give You my shame and guilt and receive Your joy. I receive Your gift of salvation through Jesus, your son. Amen