When I went to college, I started seeing a lot of those “coexist” stickers, the ones where the letters of the word is spelled out using symbols from various religions. When I first saw them, I loved them. But the more I saw them and thought about them, the more I started to dislike them.
Because we shouldn’t simply coexist with each other. We should love each other.
Being an English major and a writer, I see and hear a lot more than the literal meanings of words when they are used. There’s tone and connotation that go along with them. And while I do believe that those who make or own “coexist” stickers mean only positive things, the connotation of merely coexisting isn’t that great to me. It sends a message of learning to live with each other instead of respecting and loving each other. I understand that it accomplishes its main goal in stopping hate, but it doesn’t really go all the way to love. It seems to fall somewhere in the middle.
Much like coexistence, acceptance has a fairly negative connotation. It has the connotation of tolerating someone, not actually liking someone.
Last week’s post discussed how God loves and accepts us. But Pastor Alan wanted to clear something up in Sunday’s sermon, and I would be doing you all a disservice if I didn’t reiterate his point here. God doesn’t just love you; He also likes you.
That’s such a striking thought for me. It reminds me of a Tumblr post I saw not too long ago that said, “Is anyone else completely terrified by the concept that you could, someday, meet someone who actually genuinely wants to spend the rest of their life in love with you?” Someone replied by saying, “I don’t even want to spend the rest of my life with me.”
God wants to spend not only the rest of your life loving you, but He wants to live with you for eternity. He doesn’t get annoyed by you. He doesn’t want to spend some time away from you. He doesn’t vent to His friends about you. He legitimately likes you.
I suppose I often imagine God loving me because He made me and He kind of digs my personality, but there are days when I just imagine God getting frustrated with me and sighing deeply as He sees me making mistakes. Thankfully, He doesn’t really do that. His fondness for me is constant and unprecedented.
God made each of us individually, and He meant for us to remain individuals. He wired us all differently, and He did it on purpose. God knew that I would like things that you wouldn’t and that you would feel differently about certain things than I would, and He thought it was just fine. If we were all the same, life would be so unbelievably boring.
In today’s society, we’ve been trained to compare ourselves constantly, so it’s a hard habit for any and all of us to break. But in truth, we shouldn’t compare ourselves to everyone else because we weren’t made to be like them. You were made to be you. Like Dr. Seuss said, “Today you are you. That is truer than true. There’s no one alive who is youer than you.”
My relationship with God is going to be incredibly different than your relationship with God because I’m not you. The way I view God, talk to God, and act and react towards God is likely not going to be the very same way you do all of those things.
Your role in the Kingdom of God is probably not the same as mine either. Sure, we’re both called to love God and others and to point others to Christ, but how we do that won’t necessarily be the same. God will use you differently than He uses me.
There’s a part in the song “Amazing, Because It Is” by The Almost that goes:
I’ve been watching every part of me
Just to see, see
Why You need me to be
The boy You need me to be
When I first heard that song, it was then that I realized that not only should I be who I am because that’s who I want to be, but also because God needs me to be that person. Only that person can do whatever it is that God wants me to do.
It’s the very same with you. God made you who you are for a reason. You’re irreplaceable. God needs you where He’s put you, doing what He’s called you to do because you’re the best one for the job.
The scripture that was read on Sunday was the Fall of Man from Genesis 2 and 3. Eve ate fruit from the tree that God said, “Okay, guys. Eat fruit from any tree but this one.” His rule (for lack of a better word) was given to protect them from consequences they didn’t even want to know about. Then the serpent slithered in and caused Eve to doubt God, to lust after a food she knew she was told not to eat. Then Adam joins the party and partakes in the formerly off-limits food as well. The next thing they know, the snake is gone, and they realize they’re naked.
The first sewing circle was created as the two began stringing leaves together to cover themselves. Then Adam hears God heading their way. It may have been the first game of hide-and-seek. The couple was hiding, their eyes shut tight, mumbling words of hope and desire to remain unfound, when God calls out to Adam, “Where are you?”
I imagine no one has ever felt guiltier than Adam felt in that moment. What seemed like a great idea at the time had to seem like the ultimate slap in God’s face when His voice carried through the garden. It was the very same voice that spoke the garden Adam was hiding in into existence and the very same voice that consoled him or advised him every evening. Unable to lie to God, Adam comes out and confesses he was hiding because he was naked. God says, “Who told you that you were naked?”
Adam and Eve’s physical exposure wasn’t a problem until something told them it was, and that something was the Chatterbox.
The Chatterbox is still at it, telling us things that God would never say to us.
“Your life is meaningless.”
Who said that? It certainly wasn’t God. Whenever you’re met with thoughts such as these, remember that the Chatterbox is a liar, and a loud one at that.
Remember that you’re not loved by God because He has to love you, but because He adores you. And while He loves everyone equally, there’s something special about you. It’s in how God made you, how He speaks to you, how He looks at you. You’re loved by God. you’re liked by God, and you’re important to God in ways that you’ll never even know.
By Carrie Prevette