“The righteousness of the upright saves them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their schemes.” -Proverbs 11:6 (NRSV)
Just before Christmas in 1986, my twin brother and I were invited over to the house of our neighbor Lou Ellyn Griffin to bake Christmas cookies. When we were done, she read us the Christmas story and kept reading from her Bible storybook all the way through the life of Jesus. Sean and I grew up having story time every night with our mom, so sitting and listening to stories wasn’t out of the ordinary for us. It was, however, when the seed of faith was planted in me. Lou Ellyn was never pushy about her faith, but she made sure I knew that God loved me and that I could come to her if I had any questions on the subject. We took care of her pets and I was her teaching her assistant with her exchange students from the age of 10 onward, so I had many chances to see her living out her faith. I took her up on discussing things as an angsty 13 year old, and I credit her as the reason for the faith I have today.
I don’t claim righteousness or uprightness for myself because those are not the things that save me. I believe that I am saved by grace through my faith in Jesus Christ and that God loved me so incredibly much that He sent Jesus to die on the Cross for me. That love, termed agape in Greek, is a divine and soul-changing love that is deeper and broader than I will ever be able to understand. All I know is that the world changed forever 2000 years ago when Christ came to earth as a baby in a manger in Bethlehem.
This amazing love saves me every day, and it has changed me for the better.
Dear Lord, thank you for sending your Son to earth because You loved us so incredibly much that You did not want us to be separated from You at death. This love is incomprehensible, and I will never be able to understand it, but I thank You for it nevertheless. Amen.