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Come As You Are

"For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.

"There is no eternal doom awaiting those who trust him to save them. But those who don't trust him have already been tried and condemned for not believing in the only Son of God." John 3:16-18 (TLB)

Donna Y. Gurr lives in Oregon. The billboard near the highway displayed a photograph of a young Muslim woman with a head covering. The caption read, "We are fully inclusive." Donna felt a tinge of offense at the community college's ad. Why the push to accept Islam? Then, Jesus spoke to her heart, saying "I am fully inclusive." The contrast between the words of Jesus and Donna's reaction to the billboard left her stunned. She felt his sadness at her failure to represent him; his words had exposed her bigotry.

Jesus is unbiased; he unreservedly welcomes every human being regardless of religion or background. But like the Pharisees of Jesus' day, Donna was demanding that people meet certain criteria in order for God to receive them and love them. God deeply loves and values every person, and the Son of God paid the ultimate price for all people.

God invites us to come as we are. In the embrace of God's extravagant love and acceptance there is redemption, forgiveness, and peace. This is the good news for all.

Prayer: Loving God, thank you for accepting us as we are. Reveal any prejudice within us so we can repent and align our hearts and attitudes with yours, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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