Daily Devotional for Small Group Discussion: No Condemnation
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
9 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for[a] a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit[b] to those who ask him!”
How does this devotion’s portrayal of God strike you? Is it similar to or different from what you grew up with?
When was the last time you fervently begged God to hear your prayer?
What would such a prayer be for you today?
If your child asks for a fish, do you give a snake instead?” – Luke 11:11
A woman’s son committed suicide following decades of hard living that caused deep pain to himself and others. According to the woman’s religious upbringing, she was sure her son was in hell because of the way he lived and died. Yet the idea of her son’s suffering continuing for eternity was unbearable. She went to her pastor for help.
The pastor listened carefully as the woman poured out her broken and grieving heart. Then the pastor said, “I want you to close your eyes and imagine your son, having passed from this life and standing before the throne of God. As he stands there his whole life is on display. All of the terrible things he did, all of the harm he caused is laid bare. Can you picture that?”
“Yes” said the distraught mother.
The pastor went on. “Now imagine yourself standing beside God as you both look upon your son. How do you feel?’
“Scared,” said the woman. “I’m afraid of what God will do.”
The pastor asked, “What do you want to do?”
She said, “I want to rush forward and put my arms around my son!”
The pastor said, “You wouldn’t get there fast enough because God would have already embraced him with tears streaming down God’s face, whispering, “Welcome home, my son. Welcome home.”
If fallible human beings would not condemn their children to eternal suffering, even those who have caused great harm, would God do any less for Her children?
Praise to you, grieving and forgiving Mother of all humanity. Amen.