I've got a friend right now who needs to know that we're all bastards but God loves us anyway. He's having an awful time with an addiction, and feels pretty worthless and ashamed. I'm pretty certain he doesn't see anyway that God would love him right now, how could He when he keeps failing like this? I want him to know that what Yancey says about grace is true: as a child of God there's nothing you can do to make God love you any more than he already does, and there's nothing you can do to make him love you any less. His love and acceptance of us is not based on who we are or what we do, even though we're bastards. It's while we're still sinners that Christ dies for us. We struggle like Paul: The things I want to do are the things I can't do, and the things I don't want to do are the very things I find myself doing! Who will deliver me from this body of death? The answer? God has, through the work of Jesus. Start with God's love and don't give up hope.
We don't like the word bastard, it's kind of ugly. but more than just being crude, I probably find it offensive more because I don't think I spiritually am one! Truth be told, I probably think that I deserved to have Jesus die for me, that I was a pretty good candidate for salvation. I'm no bastard! He says indignantly! But the minute I think that, the minute that I look at someone else as worse of a sinner, that I'm not as bad as them, I make it about something other than grace. Some have got to get to the point that they believe God loves them in spite of what they do or have done. I probably have to get to the point where I believe I was bad enough for Jesus to die for. To be overwhelmed by his grace.
Isn't that what we all need? My friend needs to be overwhelmed by God's love and grace. So do each of us. Because if we start there, with the truth that God loves us, and don't allow anything to chisel that away, then I can face anything with confidence. Even being a bastard. Had to say it one more time! I'm such a rebel.