If you or I were in charge of who received God’s forgiveness, we would always be asking the question, “Who deserves God’s love?” But God thinks differently than you or I. Despite who you are, despite what sins you have committed: be they gross, graphic or gruesome—despite that, God has chosen to forgive your sins through Jesus. He chooses to give each one of us the same gift. And so in the Church, in congregations like Good Shepherd's, each person has an equal status before God. There is no one better than another or no one more deserving than another.

This is what breathes life into a congregation. This is what cleans out the sins of pride or the anger we may have towards one another. This removes the guilt we may feel about ourselves. It solves the biggest problem the church faces: us! It allows us to see each other as people for whom Christ died. And when that happens, we can start to see the gifts Christ has given to each of us. We begin to see how we are mutually dependant on each other, that no one person is more important than another. We don’t need to compare our abilities or our efforts or our involvement to someone else’s. Instead, we always encourage, we always carry each other’s burdens, we always pray for each other, we always forgive each other, we always help each other. We do that not to get anything in return, but to serve each other as Christ has served us.

At the end of time, when our heavenly Father judges us, he will give each believer their reward. And the reward isn’t based on what we’ve done; it’s based on what Christ has done. So it’s the same reward for everyone. And as we stand in line, waiting for our Father to hand us our reward, we have the joy of listening to each person before us receive their reward. We have the joy of hearing our Father say to them, “Well done! Come and take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you. Welcome home.” In fact, we don’t have to wait for heaven to start enjoying that gift. We can enjoy it right now. We see our Savior, we see our forgiveness, and we are rich. So take your pay and go. Take the forgiveness Jesus has given to you and go with joy because your Father loves you. Go in peace, because your sins are forgiven. Go together, because the Father loves us all.

Now that's a different-better-way to think, don't you agree?