I preached this weekend on Jesus' command for his followers to love their enemies.
This, I believe, is Jesus' hardest command.
It is so antithetical to all we are encouraged to do in this dog-eat-dog world.
In my final moments, I talked about how one of our greatest enemies is the one we encounter in the mirror each morning.
The room fell silent. I could feel a painful tenderness fill the room.
The recognition of truth ...
As Henri Nouwen once said, "Self-hatred is one of the greatest enemies of the spiritual life."
What if the greatest task of our lives is to come to understand how God sees us?
What if the greatest task of our lives is not to do something great for God, but to simply believe that we are who God says we are?
We are - every one of us - God's beloved children - God's sons, God's daughters.
Even before God sees our sin - he sees us as his good, good creations.
We are deeply, deeply loved.
I love Julie Canlis's writing about the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives:
"If you think you have to invoke the Spirit to enter your day, the good news is that the Spirit is already ahead of you.
The entire created world is the Spirit's playground, as is your ordinary life ...
The Spirit's job is to bring us to live in Christ and into the very relationship that He enjoys with His Father ..
In [John] Calvin's theology, the Spirit's primary and most difficult work is to persuade believers to act like children, to pray like children, the help them delight in the Fatherhood [or parenthood] of God, to be gentle with themselves, and - to use a rather apt cliche - to be, long before they begin to do.
Only the Spirit can convince our orphan hearts that we are God's children."
Listen for the voice of God's good Spirit today, friends ...
The Spirit who is everywhere before you even arrive ...
Whose primary job is to convince you - deep down in your soul - that you are not an orphan,
but a deeply loved,
child of the God of the universe.
Rest in that today.