This morning I was sitting in the kitchen, looking outside. I saw two birds struggling with each other, playing tug of war with a worm. Each bird was intent on capturing the prize. Each bird was functioning in the way God intended, living by their instincts, no thought. A little later a father robin was gathering up bits of dead grass, presumably to help in the making of a nest for his offspring. Again, no thought, no logic, only instincts directing him what he should do.
Then, we have man, who has been given the greatest gifts of all, intelligence and free will. What great wonders man has produced with his intelligence. Every invention from the wheel to the latest aspect of technology, and everything in between have been designed, produced and marveled at through man’s God-given abilities. How much we have to be thankful for. How much we have that has been given us.

And here we are, a few days after Easter. Once again we are given a gift, Salvation, Redemption and Unity with God. How wondrous is your mercy and love, O God! Like the Psalmist, we can say, “… what is man that thou art mindful of him, O Lord?” He has given us a mind, and an intelligence with which we can inspect, evaluate and make decisions about our actions, our life. And then, He went one step further. He not only, promoted us beyond our instincts, He has also, allowed us the ability to say, “Yes and No”. In giving us Free Will God has given us the authority to decide our future.

To decide what we will do next is both a wondrous ability, and at the same time, a frightening liability. Our decisions not only affect our current situations, but have ramifications in the future, as well. It is when our decisions address only our present needs, and give no thought to the consequences, their effect on the future, then is when they fail to fulfill the aspirations of Our Father, the Giver of Gifts.

The Christ came into this world, not only to redeem us, but to show us how to live. That we are capable of mistakes we already know, for we, all of us, have made tons of them. Christ embraces us and loves us. When a person offers his hand in friendship, we must extend ours to accept it. Jesus is showing us, again and again, how much the Father loves us. All that Jesus asks is that we love Him back. In order for us to show Him our love directly, we must show that we understand His message for us. We must extend our hand in friendship to the people that we meet, to Jesus. We must love one another. We must be concerned about the well being, the welfare of others.

This is the use of free will at its highest. We are concerned about people, not because they are pleasing to us, not because they can do something for us, but because Christ loves them, all of them. How can we love God, who we do not see, if we cannot love those, whom we do see? This love for our fellow man is such that we love the unborn, we love the sinner, we love the unwashed, and everyone that causes us to cringe away. We may not be happy with the responsibilities that the unborn cause. We don’t have to welcome the actions of sinners. We may wish that the unwashed were clean. But we must love them, all. If we do this, then we are embracing the love of Jesus. We are embracing His message that He extends to us.

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