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Week 1 Day 4: That the World Might Be Saved

“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
John 3:17

That the World Might Be Saved
God uses experiences of brokenness to break through to us the Good News that God loves us as we are. God comes not to condemn but to save.

-Br. Luke Ditewig



Transcript: This week’s theme is “God is Love.” We’re asking, “How can we further be assured that God has unconditional love for us?” Today’s verse is: “Indeed, God did not send his Son into the world in order to condemn the world, but rather that it might be saved through him.”

For what do you feel or fear being condemned? What is it that you have done wrong, or what it is that you hear the words “you’re not good enough,” or “something is missing”? Those are different. We all do wrong and we all have the challenge of shame, which tells us that we’re not good enough.

In both God uses experiences of brokenness to break through to us the Good News that God loves us as we are. God comes not to condemn but to save. I invite you in your prayer to listen first for what are the voices that condemn, voices that you hear in yourself or that others have said to you. Acknowledge those voices and set those aside. Then be attentive to what it is that you have done wrong, that you are wounded, or that you feel lost. Hold these honestly before God and listen for God’s response.

God comes – as our verse reminds us today – not to condemn, but to save.  For God loves you as you are.  Listen for God’s voice to you today.

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

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40 Comments

  1. Dorothy Wilson on March 17, 2018 at 18:54

    I am not articulate in expressing my point of view. I feel like Moses sometimes trying to explain in my own way & hopefully someone understands what I am trying to communicate. I was upset , when a friend said that Jesus is dead or doesn’t exsist. I felt it was an assault towards me. I told this person Jesus is alive roaring like a lion inside me. You have to have faith. I got to feeling that this person is searching. Just like Paul was when he denied Jesus.

  2. David John Drew on February 21, 2018 at 09:29

    O Lord God, I find it difficult to enunciate and describe the motions of my soul that is forever restless, hard to map its wanderings in a coherent way… to find words appropriate to express myself with clarity, perhaps because, as you know, I dwell in a fog of unknowing. I pray for your insight and illumination – for only you truly know me to my depths, of how I live, and breathe, in sleep and wakefulness, in sighs of joys and silent screams of despair. You see when I thirst and when I am bloated by gluttony… in all states, who I am, what I am, and how I should be according to your purpose and will for me in your existence.

    How could I ever come to know the essence of you, you who are beyond the scope and vision of mere human reason… the limited mind? Yet I feel the weight of your presence upon my shoulders, pressing me down, bending and molding me into your desire, and though I am but a fragmentary particle of existence, a shadow of the world – I have come to understand that you came to save the world of which I am but a part. This is enough to reassure me and cast away the fear I feel within.

    I am broken, shattered – a world in miniature, reflecting all its desires, its greed, lust, its pursuit of power and quest for domination, arrogance, blind ambition, a world that struggles for peace yet is steeped in conflict and hate, constantly seeking to be independent of all others and refusing a true sense of community, a world that is fractured and dissonant, wounded, growling in dissatisfaction and discontent, revolving incessantly around the interests of self – orbiting the ego…

    O Lord, I see the sickness and finally I come to ponder upon the notion of freedom, not as the world defines it, not merely the opposite of servitude – but ultimate release from the chains of all the negative affections and uncontrollable addictions. I feel your healing radiate through, that binds and balms the wounds and brokenness… restored by your breath alone… all that I have been, my old self, is burned on a funeral pyre, reduced to ashes, out of which emerges something new…

    Out of ashes,
    A new life is born,
    Nothing can truly live
    That has not died,
    What was before
    Has gone,
    What is now
    Rises with the dawn.

    + Amen

    Pax – David

  3. John G. on February 17, 2018 at 23:53

    IT hit me hard, Lord. He spoke to me calmly, quietly, privately of how I could have guided the people in the discussion. But I felt wounded because I knew he was right, and I felt shame toward myself because I had expected the people to do the work and offered them too little help. His criticism hurt all the more because he had met his challenge so brilliantly that day, and I had complimented him on it. And now this truthful criticism from him. I am sure he intended me to learn from it rather than resenting it. But I would rather hold onto my resentment than acknowledge that God has already forgiven him and me. God desires only that I turn from my wickedness and live. Amen

    • Bishop Hollywood on February 19, 2018 at 21:36

      We have the greatest opportunity someone can possibly offer us and that’s the gift of salvation through Christ Jesus. Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn it but to save it. Save it by showing us first and foremost how much we are loved by God, secondly that know matter what you have done or said, he wants to have a relationship with us and show us how to live and love each other.

  4. Vanessa Rose on February 17, 2018 at 23:26

    It is wonderful to see God’s unconditional love here for all of us, where we are in our cities, towns. Each of us is on a journey and as Christians we do this together in encouragement and prayer. I thank the wisdom that continues to be imparted on the Brothers of SSJE. It is true the world needs God even more, the noise of the busy world can be defining. He will continue to work through and break through bringing light and speak to us his children so we might share ‘Meeting Jesus’ wherever we are. My thoughts.

  5. James on February 17, 2018 at 21:38

    Substitute the word “world with the word “you” to feel how much God loves you.

    “Indeed, God did not send His Son into “you” the world to condemn “you” the world, but in order that “you” the world might be saved through Him”.

    We are loved and saved. Even while we were sinners, God saved us. He didn’t wait until we were driving the right car, wearing the latest fashion, or using the toothpaste that gave us the brightest smile. God doesn’t care what you’ve done, what you’ve achieved or lost, or whether you have the admiration or disdain of your peers. He wants you as you are. His love is real and everlasting and He wishes you to be part of His everlasting love by accepting Jesus Christ’s work on the cross. Jesus worked so you don’t need to. Love God and others as God has loved you and allow yourself to accept your inheritance in Christ.

  6. Tamara Schupman on February 17, 2018 at 19:59

    Simply Beautiful. I feel like a child with a large homework assignment that I’m terrified and excited to do, all at the same time. I’m a most visual soul. The process you’ve invited us to undertake reminds me of the Japanese Art of Broken Pieces: KINTSUGI. The broken parts of a bowl, for example, are kept, cleaned, examined, treasured, and then reassembled with a gold glue. The result is the reality. The bowl was broken, the bowl was treasured, the pieces still had utility, the bold was mended with love – golden love, and see how beautiful and still loved, maybe more loved that bowl is. It is once again useful.

  7. Mary Anderson on February 16, 2018 at 21:04

    God loves us for who we are, unconditionally. Those are such powerful words. On Ash Wednesday our church offered “Ashes to Go” at the park. It seemed like a good way to try and connect with people who could not get to church to receive ashes. I sat at a park bench with a sign reading “Ashes to Go”. A few friends came over to visit with me during this time. Then the City Park and Recreation Manager came over and told me I shouldn’t be there. He said “what if a child came and spoke to you?” “If I allow you to do this, I would have to allow all churches or religious organizations to do this.” “I will have to talk to my lawyer.” We had a bit of a conversation about it, but it still came down to talking to his lawyer. I had many mixed feelings about this. But I realize, God loves me, and evangelism is not easy, the Bible tells us so.

  8. Jaan Sass on February 15, 2018 at 23:35

    I read all the responses and was touched deeply by the honesty, and emotions that emanated from them. I have also struggled with the sin and mistakes I have made. I have a lot of regrets and missed opportunities. I guess what helps me through is not to focus on myself. Focusing on God’s love and the needs of others is difficult at times, but God’s love is always there.

  9. Jackie on February 15, 2018 at 20:36

    This meditation was just what I needed to read as I have been questioning what is my worth, my value in our society today, rather than concentrating on the fact that I am a beloved child of God. I will try to return to this phrase as I begin my journaling which I hope to continue throughout Lent.

  10. agatha08 on February 15, 2018 at 17:12

    I see God working on each individual to change our hearts. As we change, we then go out to change the world.

    I underlined this part in my prayer journal today, “…God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world…”

    There are days when I feel condemned because of what I have done, or what I have not done. Sometimes when I am tired, I compare myself to others and fall woefully short.

    I have to remind myself over and over that Jesus came to save me from myself. It is only with His power that I can be made whole.

  11. Mary on February 15, 2018 at 07:14

    “that the world might be saved” through Jesus

    -and today another heartbreak: a gunman killing children in school-
    Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy

    -and today – Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent-
    Save all of us in this world, O Lord
    Create in us clean hearts, O Lord.

    – and today is St Valentine’s Day –
    O Lord, transform us with your Love.
    Help us to become more loving, your Holy Spirit in our hearts.

    Save us and help us, O God of Love.

  12. Maureen Doyle on February 15, 2018 at 03:49

    From my Assisted Living place, I see our world and our country ripped apart by fear leading to hatreds. I had hoped my generation had reduced those. Now, we’re back to places from the 1950s and worse.
    I also feel the nerd label of high school post divorce. Am I too in my mind and not from my heart?

  13. Julie on February 15, 2018 at 02:51

    What beautiful, authentic soul sharing is taking place within this space. Listening and reading the comments gives me a deep sense of connectedness to a wider community of pilgrims. I pray that as we come together day by day, God will use His word and this sacred space for our transformation. I long to look like His Son to my Father. I long to embody Jesus to those who are poor in spirit, especially bound by the lies of shame. Love. That is God’s heartbeat for each of His beloved children. May it flow forth to each person in this community.

  14. Sharon (Sam) Peck on February 15, 2018 at 02:25

    I am most grateful that my church offered information to this website plus a copy of the Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John daily journal. Today was my first email reading which I savored. This was a stressful ‘Valentine Day’ beginning, but a healthy lunch and quietness afterwards helped alleviate the ‘noise.’ Now to write in the journal . . . Grace and peace

  15. William Winston on February 15, 2018 at 01:37

    What a brilliant beginning to these Lenten meditations! To start and continue an unrelenting message of God’s Love as the foundation for this Lent feels like that turning point in the movie, “Good Will Hunting” where the therapist repeats, “It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.” The difference, of course, is that we are starting to confront those things that are our fault, by commission or omission. But the turning point, as I see it, is in the message of God and neighbor and self to me, “I forgive you. I forgive you.” If the shoe were on the other foot, certainly, I’m much more prone to forgive than to condemn; why do I resist doing that for myself? Great start!!!

    And Brother Luke surprised me at the end of this meditation by leaving God’s response open-ended – not putting words in God’s mouth. Well played. It caught me off guard and made me think at a much deeper level.

    • Bryan Cook on February 15, 2018 at 18:23

      Thanks William, when I sarted to take prayer seriously, I realised that I had to view myself from those two perspectives of omission and commissio, both based on a root of mission.

  16. Mary Burkett on February 15, 2018 at 00:20

    Today I confronted a friend about her spending habits, and she became very angry. I have castigated myself for butting in and causing pain in our relationship. I realized I needed to first ask God for forgiveness before I ask my friend for her forgiveness. God does love me, even when I get in His way.

  17. Jennifer on February 14, 2018 at 22:13

    Thank you again for this Lenten study. I followed your invitation to hold my thoughts and feelings about of what I have done wrong, woundedness, and feeling lost and listened for God’s response to my prayer. God’s response to me is usually bible verses that come to mind. Two came to mind. “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Make straight the way of the Lord'” (John 1:23). I didn’t understand why that verse came to mind so read the verse in context of the story in John. After reading the chapter, another verse came to mind. 2 Corinthians chapter 1 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” In my younger years I had no influence of God or church in my life as there were no people in my life who were Christians or church goers except one or two visits to church with a friend when I was eight years old. I was living in the wilderness and as Patricia George shared in an earlier comment, I too broke every one of God’s commandments. I held a lot of guilt and shame for many years before receiving God’s grace, forgiveness and comfort. Because my comfort was and still is abundant “in Christ” I am able to comfort those who are in any affliction. I can be a voice crying out in the wilderness to make straight the way of the Lord, reaching out to those who haven’t yet heard of God’s gift of His son Jesus and the grace and forgiveness offered by Him.

  18. David Ames on February 14, 2018 at 21:04

    I am reminded that we need to think globally and act locally. The world is in need of saving — salvation — the well-being of all nations and peoples. There is so much suffering from violence, wars, starvation, homelessness, inadequate or no education, lack of employment, inequlity, abuse, etc.etc., that we can feel overwhelmed. Our local acts to care for our neighborhoods and communities, and to reach out to people in need are the elements that contribute to saving the world. I pray for the health and well-being of all people, for the courage to do what I can to improve quality of life for those in need, and to give thanks for the bountiful gifts I have received and must not take for granted. Amen.

  19. James Rowland on February 14, 2018 at 20:50

    At one time in my life I was faced with a situation I simply could not handle and had not a clue as to know what to do next. Then once at a midday eucharist I honestly stopped trying. I said to God, “Here this is. I’m tired of trying to solve this. You take it, and while you’re at it take me as well”. No great immediate flash of insight, relief, or inrush of love. No indication that anything was different as far as how I felt. Much time passed then a series of very weird events occurred. The situation simply dissolved. I think the eucharistic prayer set everything in motion. Still am in awe how God, in God’s time, did this!

    • Julie on February 15, 2018 at 02:50

      What beautiful, authentic soul sharing is taking place within this space. Listening and reading the comments gives me a deep sense of connectedness to a wider community of pilgrims. I pray that as we come together day by day, God will use His word and this sacred space for our transformation. I long to look like His Son to my Father. I long to embody Jesus to those who are poor in spirit, especially bound by the lies of shame. Love. That is God’s heartbeat for each of His beloved children. May it flow forth to each person in this community.

  20. Patricia George on February 14, 2018 at 20:15

    I know I have broken every commandment God gave to Moses… Help me, Lord, to feel your Love and forgiveness… It is so hard to forgive oneself… Help me to help others… Help me bring others to you, through prayer, through music and through doing and saying the things you would have me say and do. We can only look ahead and start from here, being the way we want to be in God’s eyes. Bless you all. Hugs!

  21. Lynne Spires on February 14, 2018 at 20:09

    Day 4. I am so thankful for these meditations. I am not an eloquent person , so-thus far- when I a.m. journaling I. am merely paraphrasing some of what the brothers are telling us. As we continue the journey perhaps I will be able to venture out a bit. Thanks be to God!

  22. Bryan Cook on February 14, 2018 at 19:23

    So much of my life had been governed by a script learned between the womb and 5 years of age. Much of the script has been beneficial…..a sound moral code, a work ethic….and it was given to me by my parents and grandparents with the deepest of love. But some parts have been destructive……be perfect at all costs, keep a stiff upper lip. I had buried feelings, been highly successful in my career, and used alcohol to dumb the stress of abiding by these negative rules. But then I learned that I can change the bad parts of my script by recognising their origin, altering my life patterns. embracing my feelings, positive and negative. I first became spiritual and then accepted God. This was a long process , but I had God expressed through the grace of my parents and grandparents to carry me through it. I continually use the serenity prayer to help me face life’s challenges and to enjoy this world. I also find that prayer allows me to talk to and be answered by God through my beloved ancestors. It sounds like silly self-delusion, but it works for me!

    • CHRISTINA MCKERROW on February 14, 2018 at 20:06

      A message to all whose comments I have read this morning. My prayers are with you – with the pain and persistent suffering you have experienced. And, Bryan, it is not ‘silly self-delusion’ – It is real love – God’s love.
      Years ago, when I was talking about knowing that while I thought to myself I had forgiven someone for things he had done, I knew that I really didn’t. A woman suggested that I ask God to grant me the WILL to forgive this young man. God’s time is different from mine and the answer may not come for a little while, but one day it dawned on me that I had been granted that gift. Blessings to all the SSJE brothers and to those who read their daily gifts. Christina

    • Aliki on February 14, 2018 at 20:25

      “Prayer allows me to talk to and be answered by God through my beloved ancestors.” Having a conversation with God through beloved ancestors. I love that. Thank you.

  23. Susan on February 14, 2018 at 19:08

    I feel very sad and lonely. I will see my Drs tomorrow. I hope I will get the drains out and some of the staples. This is a hard thing. I have never seen such a long incision. Thank you for giving me a place to share.

    • Maureen Doyle on February 15, 2018 at 03:53

      Mine goes the length of my thoracic spine. I can’t see it. Healing occurred. May every space within that scar be filled with God’s healing love, and may you find support.

  24. Jimmy on February 14, 2018 at 18:10

    My prayer is that I find strength in the love of God to set aside all the things in my life that I LET separate me from Him. I know He never leaves my side, it is I who turns away. Finding the quiet time to set aside and listen for His wisdom is always the challenging part. May we all make quiet time for ourselves and always know we are loved & not condemned.

  25. Meg on February 14, 2018 at 17:56

    My shame has always been overwhelming, rationally I know I do not need to feel this shame. The things that happened to me as a child were not my fault. I have tried to hide this shame, but maybe I can put it aside, acknowledge it and let God’s love fill me instead.

    • SusanMarie on February 14, 2018 at 21:04

      Meg, I feel called to gently respond to your comment. Shame is a human-created word for an emotion that I don’t believe God gave us or wants us to feel. Shame is a tearing, ripping, deeply wounding word and feeling. I hope you will focus entirely on God’s great love for you. Yes, let God’s love fill you and take the word shame and the feelings that go with it away from your life. God has no place for shame and doesn’t want you to feel it. May God bless you this day and always.

    • Maureen Doyle on February 15, 2018 at 03:55

      We share a similar shame. I was about 18 months to I don’t know when. I’ve split pieces off. I try loving that child as I would any who encountered what I did. It’s such a long battle. You are not alone.

    • Vanessa Rose on February 17, 2018 at 23:22

      Meg, feeling God’s love for you will defuse your feelings of being overwhelmed, all of us to some degree have felt this on our Christian journey. One of the prayer cards I have is “Let Go and Let God” perhaps you might consider this is a mantra to hold onto and God’s love for you. May this give you comfort for God is with us and knows us as a Father does. Blessings and prayers. Vanessa Rose

    • Doug on February 18, 2018 at 18:44

      Meg, Since August of 2016 my word has been light. That light is the Light of God which takes away all darkness. Whenever I noticed the darkness of my shame, which I knew wasn’t true, entering my thoughts I could use that Light to take away the shame. The Light of God can expose all evil that shows up in our minds to separate us from God. I hope that you find the peace that you deserve.

  26. Bev Cone on February 14, 2018 at 17:09

    I hope to follow these suggestions this morning in my prayer time. I am overwhelmed with life and its responsibilities today. I am going to put these issues before me, one by one, then set them aside, and STOP to listen for God’s response. Please pray for me.

  27. Annalisa Sedgwicke on February 14, 2018 at 16:45

    All of a sudden, during my meeting yesterday, as the subject turned to God speaking to us through our symptoms, I crumpled. Intimidated by the accusatory attitude confronting me. I felt her harsh self-judgment as though it were my own. As fear and shame surfaced into my mind I began silently reciting The Lords Prayer. It’s how I regain my own mental space after empathicly taking on the feelings of another. It worked. However, while I held her feelings, I recognized her need. Her suffering. And the message God has for her.

  28. Louise Peters on February 14, 2018 at 16:24

    Thank you. This series even just three days in, is a reflection of Gods love. Thank you brothers. Bless you.

  29. Ruth rogers on February 14, 2018 at 16:21

    Yes god loves unconditionally in all aspects of my life sometimes it is hard when you hear comments that you are good enough or you can not do anything of upbringing but I do trust in my god and listen to gis response and pray continually. The trust and believe in god and feel his presence helps me.

  30. Keith Aldred on February 14, 2018 at 16:05

    God loves us, despite what we do. That love is so all encompassing that we have to respond and follow it.

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