Confidence in God
By: Rev. Suzie Chamness
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God. - 1 John 3:21
"Hearts" in this verse refers to the Christian's confidence in asking God for things. This point is made clearer in the following verse. Because this same word occurs in contexts connected to Christ, it may also refer to the Christian's assurance of a positive outcome of our lives in Christ. The thought in this verse is completed in verse 22 where it talks about the Christian's heart in asking things of God.
Believers who have a heart that does not condemn can have assurance that God does not create anyone who, if they will call on the name of God thru Christ and do the things that are pleasing to him will have a forgiven heart.
An obedient lifestyle means that, as far as a believers' heart, it is no problem for God to accept who we are. God created us and we are a living testimony to love. It is with great faith that we believe and live in obedience to God's commandments and our hope is that our will and God's will coincide.
Boldness before God often comes in the form of asking. We have been promised by the Word that when we ask, we will receive. As a condition attached to the promise of answered prayer, we follow the Word with heart and with love for others. We can have a clear and clean heart through serving others.
This is not to say that an obedient lifestyle on the part of the Christian guarantees answered prayer. It implies that we can make believe and have faith that we are in obedience to God's commandments. Our heart and God's will coincide and we may expect to receive the answer to our prayers.
Our hearts may condemn us but God is greater than our hearts. It is often true that we are more condemning or have a lesser opinion of our self than others. This is true in the instance of how God feels about his creation. God created each of us and we are acceptable to God. It is inevitable at times to have doubts about who we are and why we are the person we have become.
We feel we lack in our life and love through some demon that seems to take over our thoughts and create in us someone we don't know. But God is greater than our hearts and knows all things. Not only does God know our inferiority complexes and doubts, God knows our love, our longings and the lack of understanding that we have that we are truly noble and knowledgeable. God greatness allows us to have God's empathy and sympathy which understands and forgives each of us.
According to Thomas Aquinas, "Man sees the deed, but God knows the intention." We are judged by others by our actions but God can judge us by our heart and our actions coming from our heart. God sees the deep emotions of the heart; and, if in our hearts there is love, then that love, however imperfect it may be, can assure us that we are exactly who God created us to be. The perfection of our heart is in God's time and is our hope.
We are a people of God, created by God and all in the image of perfection. We do well to remember that we are never condemned by God. We may be shunned by others but their judgment ability is like ours sometimes very lacking. As people of God and LGBT people, we can continue to separate ourselves from all Christians by feeling in our heart that we are the less. God has never condemned us. If God were displeased with us would it not be likely that we would be changed. Our life remains in God's hands and through our heart, we can know that we are a created work of God. One that is meant to be and to serve God as all people should.
We are totally Christian and loved by God, if we choose to give our life and hearts to God in faith and to serve others to help humanity in the goal of peace for all people. We can live with a peaceful heart and confident knowing we do good deeds and walk humbly before God give great praise to God that we are who we are meant to be.
The judgment of people lacks an understanding of the hearts of people. Would that people could stop condemning and realize that God never did. We are a blessed people and nation. We have many freedoms that others have no liberty to acquire. We have a safe place to worship where others do not. We are blessed to have a life that we choose and that God blesses by hearing us when we go in faith and love to have a conversation with God.
We can be confident and have a peaceful heart knowing we are not left behind by who we are. We are children/people of God given life to serve one another as if when we were serving God because we are. When we do for others we are doing for God and for ourselves because we are all one in Christ.
Rev. Dr. Suzie Chamness is an MCC minister and chaplain. She just completed her D.Min. thru Andersonville Theological Seminary.
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