Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48 / 1 John 4:7-10 / John 15:9-17
The difference between human beings and machines is that no matter how much artificial intelligence and programs and sensing devices a machine or a robot may have, it does not have feelings like that of a human being. Or at least not yet.
To differentiate the matter even further, machines and robots are more predictable and easier to handle. Human beings are more temperamental because of their feelings.
For example, if we go to an electronics shop to buy a laptop, we will look around and try out the various models on display. Whichever model we finally choose, it won’t display any elation, nor will the others display disappointment. It’s business as usual and that is quite predictable.
Not so for a human being. Finding acceptance and facing rejection will result in a spectrum of emotions and feelings.
This is quite evident in a job application. If we are called up for an interview, we will feel happy because we are being considered as suitable. When we go for the interview, we will feel tense and anxious because it will be a test of our worth.
After the interview, only two things can happen: acceptance or rejection.
If we get accepted for the job, then we will feel happy and good about ourselves because our worth is recognized. But if we get rejected, then we might feel sad and dejected and maybe even depressed.
So in short, it can be said that often our happiness is dependent on being accepted and recognized for our worth. On the other hand, our sadness is the result of feeling rejected and we see ourselves as useless and worthless.
But is that really so? Is our dignity and our worth dependent on how others see us and whether they accept or reject us?
The bad news is that we cannot make people like us, love us, understand us, accept us or to be nice to us. The good news is that it actually doesn’t matter much.
But more than that, if we live for people’s acceptance, then we will die from their rejection. Our dignity and our worth don’t depend on the assessment of others.
But the really good news is what Jesus tells us in the gospel: As the Father loves me, so I have loved you. Remain in my love.
And to add to this good news is that Jesus chose to love us. So Jesus not only accepts us in our unworthy sinful state, He chooses to love us with the same love that God the Father loves Him.
Jesus tells us this so that the joy of His love will be in us and that will make our love and our joy complete.
So when we realise that Jesus chose to love us, that God’s love is given to us in full, and that His love makes our joy complete, then we will realise who we really are, and that we will want to remain in God’s love.
Then we won’t live on other people’s acceptance nor will we die from their rejection. God’s love is enough for us and we only want to remain in His love.
A story goes that the children in a catechism class were calling each other names and making fun of each other and some were hurt by all the name calling.
The catechism class teacher decided to take this opportunity to teach the children about who they are and how much Jesus loves them.
After she had quieten down the class, she took out a $50 note and asked, “Who would like to have this $50 note?”
All the children put up their hands and said, “I want, I want!” Then the teacher crumpled the note and said, “Who would like to have this now?” All the children put up their hands and said, “I want, I want!”
Then the teacher threw the crumpled note on the floor and stepped on it, and then asked, “Who would still like to have this $50-dollar note now?” All the children put up their hands and said, “I want, I want!”
So, the teacher asked, “Why? I have crumpled it, stepped on it, and you all still want it?” And the children all replied, “Because it is still a $50 note.”
And then the teacher said, “Yes it is still a $50-dollar note. You have been taught that everyone is created in the likeness of God and that God loves everyone, and no one can take that from you.
Even if others make fun of you and call you names, God still loves you because you are created in His image.
And you should not make fun of others or call them names because God loves them and they are created in God’s image too.”
The children got the point, and we would have gotten the point too. Yes, Jesus loves each of us with the love of God the Father so that our joy can be complete.
We need to remain in His love so that we can bear fruits of love for others to receive God’s love and come to know who they are.
Jesus chose us and He loves us. Let us in turn bear the fruit of love for others so that they will open their hearts to Jesus and that their joy be complete.