A lens of love
July 18, 2011
by Pastor Lee Hallstrom, Light of Christ Lutheran Church, Delano

I had a funny experience recently.

I drove over to Augsburg College for a meeting and had to park on campus. It’s very congested around there, and the streets on campus are one way and quite narrow.

I finally found a parking space. Being a one way street, this spot happened to be on the left side, so it was a “backwards” parallel parking job. It probably wasn’t the smoothest, but within a couple seconds, I was parked an inch away from the curb.

As I got out of my car, a woman was getting out of her van. She had obviously observed my parallel parking skills (or lack thereof) and said, “I’d give you a 9 out of 10 for that job!” We both laughed and I walked away.

Now, it’s just plain humorous to rate a parking job, but unfortunately, we go through much of life being rated, don’t we? All students have to be rated in some way at school – in sports, they know how they rate on the team and how the team is rated in the conference. We adults are rated at work, as well. Our neighbors silently rate our lawns, our gardens, our furniture. Our friends rate our clothing, our hair, our technology.

This is the world we live in. The lens through which we view things, and are viewed by others, is often a scorecard approach.

The good news is that there is a relationship you can be in where you will never be rated, never be looked down on because you messed up, never thought less of because you aren’t smart enough, good enough, religious enough. You will be accepted just as you are . . . but you won’t be left just the way you are. You will be loved into something more – forgiven and nurtured into something even better.

Yes, this is a relationship with God. With God, scorecards are gone because they got nailed to a cross. Jesus took that rating system and said, “That is not the lens through which God will ever view you. I’m getting rid of that.”

When God looks at you, God sees all the gifts that God has stuffed inside you. He sees his child, one whom he desires and loves more than anything.

And in this relationship with God, you and I are not only looked at in a different way than the world looks at us, but we are given a new lens by which to view the world and others. Not a scorecard, but the lens of love.

May all joy be yours in believing!