“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:17 NIV
The word condemn invokes images of harshness and judgment. Buildings are condemned, found unfit for habitation. People are convicted for crimes and sentenced to spend years in prison. Even in our spring cleaning, we judge what items are saved and what ends up in the landfill.
God had us dead to rights; we are sinful and worthy of condemnation -- "Guilty, your Honor!" He could have chosen to send his only Son to judge and sentence us to damnation. Thanks to God's love and grace, he took another approach. His desire is not to condemn us but save us. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (3:16). God offers his life-giving grace to all. None of us are so sinful that God does not want us as part of his family. All he asks of us is that we believe.
Loving God, we give you thanks for your amazing grace. Thank you for your Son who offers us eternal life despite our sinfulness. We confess we are unworthy of such a gift and recognize it comes only from your goodness. Please forgive us our sins and help us not to judge others but tell them about how you have saved us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.