John 3:16-18 was the Gospel reading at Sunday’s Mass.
For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. For God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but so that through him the world might be saved. No one who believes in him will be judged; but whoever does not believe is judged already, because that person does not believe in the Name of God’s only Son.
Think of all the ways we condemn ourselves.
I am condemned to poverty.
I am condemned by my broken marriage.
I am condemned to a single life.
I am condemned to a wheelchair.
I am condemned by my weight.
I am condemned by my stupidity.
I am condemned by my upbringing.
I am condemned by the judgement of others.
I am condemned by my judgement of myself.
I am condemned…
We may not use those exact words, but the meanings are the same.
The size of a person’s bank account, their marital status, mobility, size, IQ, and so much more that we foolishly beat ourselves up over are nothing compared to the eternal condemnation we risk by not finding Faith in Jesus Christ and Joy in the gifts God has given us.
The things we tend to condemn ourselves for are not truly condemnable; they are not sins but often the result of sin. Instead, we should examine our conscience for bigger things, things we may actually be condemned for. While we condemn ourselves for the little temporary afflictions above, we often excuse ourselves for our lack of faith or for one or more of the Seven Deadly Sins:
On this Earth each of us has periods of suffering often caused by our falling to one or more of the seven deadly sins, but that suffering is only temporary when we examine our thoughts, our words, and our actions and then live in His Grace as much as is humanly possible, when we fully embrace the Saving Grace of Jesus Christ, for Jesus did not come to condemn, but to give Life.
He came to release us from sin, and yet, He also promises justice and condemnation for those who do not believe in Him and for those who do not act with the belief in Him. Do not condemn yourself needlessly, but rather examine your conscience, confess your sins, and move forward in Love for the Trinity.
It is only when you master the Love of God that you can truly do as Jesus instructed:
Love yourself first.
Then Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.
If Jesus did not come to condemn you, why are you qualified or capable of condemning yourself for little things?
Find Joy in forgiveness. Find Joy in Loving the unLovable – and if you think that means Loving yourself, remember Sunday’s Gospel reading from John 3: 16-18 and know God Loved you so much, He sent His only Son so that You would not be condemned! Accept the Saving Love of Jesus Christ. Judge not yourself and others, but instead find Joy in all things and know that YOU ARE LOVED.