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As a father is tender towards his children

I wonder if you are familiar with these words from Psalm 103:
As a father is tender towards his children :
so is the Lord tender to those that fear him.
For he knows of what we are made :
he remembers that we are but dust.

Or these words from Isaiah 49?
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!

I have been thinking about these words this morning, reflecting on God’s great tenderness towards us. God’s great love for each one of us. God’s willingness to forgive and allow us, always, to start again when we have made mistakes.
So much of what is on the news, even at this time, when all our vulnerabilities and weaknesses are so exposed, seems to separate people in to “good ones” and “bad ones”, “heroes and villains”. Are you a hero, raising money for the NHS? Or are you a villain, stockpiling loo paper?
“Social distance shaming” seems to be a new thing- people telling on each other or confronting each other if they think another person is doing lockdown the wrong way.
We seem, even at this time, when we should- and must – recognise that we are all connected to one another- to be tempted still to make some people outsiders and others insiders.

Of course, it is right that we should form judgements about what other people do, and also that we should hold ourselves to account for our own behaviours and attitudes.
But God loves all of us- each and every one. And God sees us in our wholeness. He sees that the person who is raising money for the NHS may ALSO have a stockpile of tinned tomatoes the size of small car hoarded in their garage.

Jesus was forever getting into hideous trouble because he made friends with the people on the edge- people everyone else had decided should be outsiders. The rule breakers. “Tax collectors and sinners”. The people who stockpile. The people who drive to their second homes every weekend.

At this time, when we are all feeling vulnerable, let us turn our hearts again to the infinite love and mercy of God in Christ Jesus. Let’s resist the urge to judge others. Let’s keep including people, loving people, forgiving people and reaching out to people.

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