During a driving test, the examiner makes a note of every fault the driver makes to determine if they should pass or fail. We might worry that God works in a similar way, keeping a record of everything we do wrong, and telling us we’ve failed if we clock up too many. But that’s not how His kingdom operates. Before the Passover meal, all the disciples forgot to wash Jesus’ feet. Fault. And after Jesus explained how the bread and wine symbolised His upcoming crucifixion, they started arguing about who would be the greatest in the kingdom. Another fault. Jesus also knew that within hours they’d fall asleep when they were supposed to be keeping watch in the Garden of Gethsemane. Another fault. And He knew Peter would deny Him. Another fault. So did Jesus give them a fail grade? No, because He doesn’t grade people. And we don’t have to either. Instead of judging people based on every mistake they’ve ever made, we should try to start loving them where they are, and support them in their journey to where they need to be. Rather than condemning the disciples, Jesus complimented, rewarded, and encouraged them. Nourished by their love, He said, ‘You have stayed with me through my struggles. Just as my Father has given me a kingdom, I also give you a kingdom so you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom’ (Luke 22:28-30 NCV). In His eyes they were all great. He didn’t grade them on their performance, but on their love that motivated them to set everything else aside and stick with Him through the bad times as well as the good.
If you have times when you feel your relationship with Jesus is based on performance rather than love, take some time to talk to Him about how you feel, and ask Him to give you a real sense of His unconditional love for you.
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