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Feedback


Thank you for buying a spanking new red car. Nice, isn’t it? If you have five minutes, please click on the link to send us feedback. So we can improve our customer service, of course.


Like your new air fryer? Here’s a link to send feedback. And while you’re at it, didn’t you purchase a saucepan from us back in 2020? Let me send you a dozen more links so you can send us feedback on all the kitchen products you’ve purchased from us since you became digitally trackable. You know what? Why don’t you just write reviews all day long about every single thing you’ve ever bought or done? In fact, if you clicked on every link you were sent, you could even do a review on how well we’re sending links. Because you have time, don’t you? I mean, what is more important than writing reviews? As long as you’re sending in your feedback and thinking of us, we are happy and so are you. Thank you from the team at Feedback.com.


A review of this message? That would be lovely.


Ooh, that feels better. It’s off my chest now, so I can relax.


NOT JUST ME


It can’t just be me, surely? Everywhere I turn, I’m being asked for feedback (including from Living Leadership! 😂). The requests come from every possible purveyor of goods and services. From cars to casseroles, from travel companies to turnip growers, they all want my feedback. Personally, I delete these requests, but I’m a rarity. My impression is that many people seem desperate to comply. Which is why when I researched a particular pannier for my daughter’s bike, well over a hundred reviews were available on Amazon. In our era of hyper-individualism, we all think our opinion matters, so companies are lapping it up. We get to vent or praise or offer advice, self-realising ourselves into ever increasing degrees of self-importance, and each company receives free marketing by holding our attention, their logos emblazoned on our screens.


It’s a win-win. But what a cacophony!


Whatever you might think, feedback can be important. A series of poor reviews on TripAdvisor can quite literally destroy a hotel’s business. The thing is, though, if we’re not careful, we can be pulled into this obsession. When everyone is giving feedback on the quality of products from paperclips to pink champagne, we can start to give undue weight to the opinions of others. However, before you think this is a post on people-pleasing (very important topic), it isn’t.


Instead, I’d like to give you some feedback myself.


Sounds a bit odd? I may not even know you. How could I possibly give you feedback? Well, I can, because my feedback is based not on what you’ve done but who God is. Yes, it sounds strange, but this is how God relates to us. It’s not that he’s not interested in our behaviour, it’s that his view of us is rooted in his grace towards us, and that, of course, arises from who he is. His character.


So, here’s my feedback.


THE LORD BOTH LOVES AND LIKES YOU


We all know the theology—that God loves us—but he also likes us. He likes you! A lot. He enjoys hanging out with you. And more than that, he delights in you. Each day you rise from your bed, he is excited to spend this particular day with you. No matter what you did the day before.


The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

Zeph 3.17


Yes, these verses were written for the ancient Hebrews, but the spirit of them still applies. That the Lord delights in you. What about a psalm to back this up?


For the Lord takes delight in his people.

Ps 149.4a


But I still sin and let people down. Yes, of course you do. Like anyone else, you are still growing, and . . . Stop it with the feel-good stuff. I have bad days when I disappoint people and I disappoint myself. Well, that may well be true, but let’s be clear about this. You are never, ever, a disappointment to God. Never, ever. For a couple of reasons. First, God has perfect and comprehensive knowledge of the past, present and future. He knows everything about you, and that includes every choice you will ever make. Your choices never surprise him. And disappointment depends on surprise. It’s based on unrealised hopes and expectations concerning the future. We hope for something, and we don’t get it. This generates disappointment. The Lord never views us like this, because he already knows what we will do.


So it’s impossible to disappoint him.


But second, you are covered by his grace. He knows that you will continue to sin—this isn’t a surprise, as though somehow he had expected you to stop sinning. You may feel that you have let him down, but he never enters this emotional space. When your heavenly Father sees you, he sees the ‘robes of righteousness’ purchased for you by the Lord Jesus. He sees who you are ‘in Christ’.


But surely a relationship must involve a response to behaviour. It can’t just be about status, surely?


Oh, he responds to your behaviour. No question. But he constantly responds with grace. Every time you turn to him, you receive grace. Whenever you lean in with a repentant and humble heart, he is there to embrace you.


So this isn’t really feedback, is it? It’s a trick you’ve pulled to talk about grace.


You got me! Grace is my favourite subject.


But it is also feedback, because I’m inviting you to reflect on your life, even though I may not even know you. And when you do that, I invite you to enjoy the wonder and beauty of God’s grace towards you. Church leaders can be so hard on themselves, finding the specks (and planks) in their own eyes, weighed down by their own fallibility. But the Lord doesn’t join us in that heart response, wagging his finger and shaking his head with disapproval. He just doesn’t. So here are some verses for you.


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matt 11.28-30


My yoke is easy and my burden is light.


Remove from your back all your regret, guilt, shame, disappointment, frustration, worries, fears, and unrealised dreams. Everything that weighs you down. The feedback you receive from the Lord comes from a person who is ‘gentle and humble in heart’ (some translations, ‘gentle and lowly’).

You are, therefore . . .


  • The one lamb out of a hundred, retrieved by a shepherd who refused to let you wander away and remain lost.

  • The prodigal son, wrapped in the warm embrace of a father, who has never stopped loving you.

  • The little man in the tree, who is seen—really seen—by Jesus, who delights in his repentant heart.

  • The woman at Jesus’ feet, lapping up his every word, and the busy one, who is also invited to sit at his feet.

  • The weeping sinner, who, though he abandoned his Lord, is invited back into the fold, to serve and lead his people.


Enter any of these stories (or choose a different one) and enjoy his grace. This is because you are ‘his workmanship’, ‘a new creation’, ‘arrayed in a robe of righteousness’. You are the recipient of all God’s riches in Christ Jesus.


This isn’t my feedback. It’s his feedback.


He delights in you. He loves you.


And his word to you today is ‘my grace is sufficient’.


Always.

Yorumlar


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