I’m a Christian and am saying this to you. Yes, you. I don’t need to know whether or not you are a Christian. I don’t require you to be baptized to know this. I’m not going to tell you that you are going to Hell. I’m not going to tell you that your sins are beyond the pale. I’m not going to judge you. I’m just going to point out what I know to be true about you: you were created by a loving God who adores you down to your core.
That same core that on occasion may be less than perfect. Like Santa, God knows when you’ve been naughty or nice, but unlike Santa, doesn’t leave coal in your stocking, but works for your healing and wholeness. God knows you. He created you. And loves you. Period. There is nothing I can say or believe to change that truth. There is nothing you can do to change it either.
This is not to say you (and all of us!) do things of which God disapproves, but that doesn’t change the core reality of God’s love for you.
At the beginning of the Bible, in the first book of Genesis, God makes the whole earth and “saw that it was very good.” He says those words seven times. That repetition is not a mistake. It is to underscore a point. Everything, everyone, from every race, nation, creed, gender, sexual orientation, ability, intelligence, is created by God. And if we are created by God then we are at our core good and we are wanted.
In the New Testament it says, “For God so loved the cosmos…” [John 3:16]. In other words, not only are you good and wanted, as part of the cosmos, you are loved.
I have a bumper sticker on my car which says, “God bless the whole world, no exceptions.” One day when I was standing at the gas station filling my tank, the guy behind me saw the bumper sticker and confronted me. “Does that include terrorists?” he asked. “Yes,” I said. He started to get upset. I continued, “I’m not denying that they must be held accountable for their actions, but since God created them too, they are valued.” I am reminded of the vow we Episcopalians make at our baptism where we promise to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself,” and to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.”
How might the world be different if every time we interacted with someone we disliked we kept reminding ourselves, “this person is a beloved child of God”? What if before liberals attacked conservatives for being cold-hearted and greedy they realized that would be condemning a child of God? What if before conservatives attacked liberals for being elitist spendthrifts they realized that would be denigrating a child of God? You can disagree with someone, strongly, and even dislike them and their actions and yet recognize that they were created by God for a higher purpose and treat them with respect. Many of us don’t achieve that higher purpose, and God may feel sorrow or anger at our words and actions, but that doesn’t make us less valuable to God.
You just can’t value some people more or less than others. Ever. And God set the gold standard. We were created good and are loved beyond measure. Let’s start with Original Blessing.