“God’s Love Has Been Poured Into Our Hearts”

Romans 5:5

On Sunday, I talked about Jonathan Franzen’s novel, The Corrections, which is about a very dysfunctional fictional family by the last name of Lambert. There’s the elderly Dad Alfred, who is retired, very ill and suffering from dementia. His wife is Enid, who becomes more obsessive, manipulative and nagging as time goes on. Alfred and Enid’s three grown children are all coming home for Christmas to the tiny house where they grew up…in a little midwestern town called St. Jude. And they are pretty sure that this will be the last chance to spend Christmas with their father. Denise is the girl of the family, who is quite a bit younger than her two brothers, and she once was very happy.

In the final pages of the book, something transformational happens to Denise. Although she had been the adored baby of the family, throughout her entire adulthood she never believed that her father–or anyone else, for that matter–would truly love her if he knew some of the things she had done. But on Christmas Eve Alfred let Denise know that he had known her deepest and darkest secret, and he had loved her anyway. It hit Denise like a bolt of lightening: her father had known about the most shameful thing of her past—and he had loved her and adored her even with all of her faults and shortcomings. She always thought that her father loved his idea of her…but not the real her that she truly was…the Denise who had an affair with a married man when she was just a teenager…the Denise who made some bad choices in her life…the Denise who carried shame around with her like a ball and chain. It was on Christmas Eve…the last Christmas Eve her dad would be alive…that she realized that he truly loved her for who she was. And at that moment, her life began to change for the better.

In the book of Romans, we read that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts.” God, who knows everything about us still loves us like crazy. I wonder how many of us go through life like Denise wondering if God or anyone else would love us if they really knew all about us. The good news is that God does know all about us—and still loves us. And God invites us to accept that love and to share it with others. I am pretty confident that there is someone each one of us will encounter this week who really needs to know and feel that kind of love. I invite you to be the one to show them that love.

Aloha nui!

Kahu Alan Akana


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“A Message from Kahu Alan Akana” is provided most weeks by the Kahu (Pastor) of Koloa Union Church, a congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the Kauai Association and Hawaii Conference.