quarta-feira, 22 de fevereiro de 2012

Love Wins By Ronald W. Nikkel

Dear friends,
Let us love one another, for love comes from God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God.
Whoever does not love does not know God,
because God is love.
This is how God showed his love among us:
He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
This is love:
not that we loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins…
God is love.
Whoever lives in love lives in God,
and God in him.[i]
More than anything, Christmas is an amazing love story. It is a universal story for all people of all time. American psychiatrist, William Glasser, suggests that our human need for love and belonging is one of the deepest of all needs and underlies our wellbeing as individuals, families, and society.[ii] Our need to love and to be loved transcends all the differences of race, culture, generation, ideology, and religion. From the beginning of our lives we are dependent on the love of other people, and the quality of their love for us significantly shapes our emotional, social, and even physical health.

During my early years working with delinquent youths I noticed a clear link between their behaviour and the “state of love” in the families or homes they came from. Kids growing up in homes characterized by conflict, or where parental love was either manipulative or capricious, inevitably “acted out” their insecurity and hunger for love in attention getting behaviour or escapism. I very quickly realized that the key to helping these kids did not simply lie in discipline and reward or other behaviour modification strategies, but in a meaningful, dependable, and safe personal relationship with someone who would love them unconditionally.

To be loved unconditionally is probably the most powerful thing in our personal experience. For when someone’s love for us neither fades nor falters as a function of our own mood swings and delinquencies, or our attitudes and inclinations, we are inevitably drawn and compelled to respond to them.

The Christmas story is about that kind of love – God who unconditionally loves humanity without consideration for our checkered history of self-indulgence, delinquency, rebellion, and escapism - giving himself without reservation to the human family by becoming the “Son of Man.” Nothing is spared as God comes – unconditionally loving us in spite of and in the midst of our delinquent and disfigured human appetites to love and to be loved. God knows how much we as humans are forever acting out – looking for love in all the wrong places and escaping into indulgences of the mind and body that dull our deepest need. And still he loves us totally.

This Advent I find myself being drawn into, completely won over once again, by the amazing story of God’s unconditional love for me; a compelling and open story of Jesus, friend of sinners, a vulnerable baby in a shepherd’s crib – “The Son of Man” – one of us!

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.[iii]

[i] I John 4:7-10,16
[ii] William Glasser, “The Identity Society” (Harper and Row, New York, 1972)
[iii] Excerpted from “Oh Love of God” by Frederick M. Lehman (Songs That Are Different, Volume 2, 1919)
Ronald W. Nikkel, PFI President & CEO
Ron has served as PFI's president since 1982. Widely recognized as an expert on criminal justice issues, Ron has visited more than 1,000 prisons in every region of the world and met with church and political leaders, as well as criminal justice officials.
Ron's new devotional book Radical Love in a Broken World, featuring daily meditations, is now available on Amazon.com as is his previous book Your Journey with Jesus.
To Learn more about Prison Fellowship International, visit www.pfi.org

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Mensagem de boas-vindas

"...Quando um voluntário é essencialmente um visitador prisional, saiba ele que o seu papel, por muito pouco que a um olhar desprevenido possa parecer, é susceptível de produzir um efeito apaziguador de grande alcance..."

"... When one is essentially a volunteer prison visitor, he knows that his role, however little that may seem a look unprepared, is likely to produce a far-reaching effect pacificatory ..."

Dr. José de Sousa Mendes
Presidente da FIAR