My daughter said this to my four-year old grandson the last time they were staying with us. The lad had done what he wasn’t supposed to. He had been warned, but stubbornly chose the wrong way. And he suffered the consequences. During discipline, amidst the tears, out came this reassuring and loving phrase: “I still love you, even when you’re naughty.” After more tears and an extended quiet time, mother and son were at one again. Of course, truth was they were never not at one! The relationship, though strained, would not be broken.
God sometimes says to me, “I still love you when you’re naughty.” I know what is right. I know what God wants, but I don’t do it. I do what I want. I haven’t broken my relationship with God, but it is sure hard to meet Him in prayer, in Bible reading or in Church fellowship. Something that I have done wrong has come between my Father in heaven and me.
The next move is up to me. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn.1:9NIV).
I once asked a group of students what they thought was the most important word in that verse. After some good discussion I included my answer. It was the first word – the tiny two-letter word, “If.”
Only when we realize God is always right and we are in the wrong, and only when we resolve to act on that realization, can the full impact of my daughter’s phrase carry over into our relationship with our God.
“He who has been forgiven little loves little,” said Jesus (Lk. 7:47). When we confess to Him, He forgives us. The more He forgives us, the more we find we love Him. I am just so glad “He still loves us, even when we’re naughty.”
By Colin Salter
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org